EXCLUSIVE: Francis Ford Coppola has begun quietly directing his next feature. I’m told that Coppola is shooting Twixt Now And Sunrise, a thriller with overtones of horror, and that his star is Val Kilmer. Also in the cast are Elle Fanning (Super 8) and Bruce Dern (who long ago starred in the Coppola-scripted The Great Gatsby). But the picture’s fulcrum is Kilmer, who plays a horror novelist. The film is based on a short story written by Coppola. It is shooting in Napa, on Coppola’s property. Coppola hasn’t tackled the horror genre since early in his career, when he directed Dementia 13, and of course Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And some might consider Apocalypse Now to be horror.

While the internet has been buzzing about the possibility of a Top Gun sequel and whether Tony Scott and Tom Cruise will return to it (neither is attached), it is interesting to see Cruise’s costar Kilmer catching a second career wind.  Kilmer was pretty good in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call–New Orleans, but it has been a long time since great turns in films like Heat and Tombstone. Sometimes it’s nice to see veterans get another shot and I’m told Coppola sought out the actor. Coppola, who’ll be presented the AMPAS Governors Award on November 13, has picked up his directing pace. Taking nearly a decade off after The Rainmaker, Coppola returned with more personal, indie-flavored efforts. He directed the 2007 Tim Roth-starrer Youth Without Youth, followed by 2009’s Tetro. I’m told that Coppola has funded the picture independently and hasn’t yet sought out distribution.