When the child of a celebrity makes art, it’s customary to view it with a heavy dose of skepticism, the assumption being that their inherited access to wealth, power, and other creative resources does not necessarily make them a great candidate for insightful commentary on the world. However, a new release has entirely upended the genre of nepotism art. It’s a TikTok of Sofia Coppola’s 16-year-old daughter preparing to make pasta à la vodka while grounded for trying to charter a helicopter on her parents’ credit card.
Romy Croquet Mars (yes, that is her middle name) is less a nepo baby than the second-youngest member of a Hollywood dynasty. Her mother, best known for directing girly, vaguely forlorn films like Marie Antoinette and The Virgin Suicides, is herself the daughter of another revered director (and, more importantly to me, owner of an excellent mid-tier wine brand), Francis Ford Coppola. Romy’s father, Thomas Mars, is the front man of the French indie-pop band Phoenix, and that’s just the direct bloodline — her long list of famous cousins includes Nicolas Cage and Jason Schwartzman. If you think about it, this bizarrely sped-up TikTok in which she confuses a shallot for an onion is arguably the most natural thing she could do.
“Make a vodka sauce pasta with me because I’m grounded,” the video begins — an intro that could come from any bored teen with access to their parents’ liquor cabinet. Oh, except that she’s in trouble because “I tried to charter a helicopter from New York to Maryland on my dad’s credit card because I wanted to have dinner with my camp friend.” Ah, yes, a rite of passage we can all relate to.
Romy explains that she doesn’t know the difference between “a garlic and an onion” and, despite having Googled images of onions on her phone (“I’m embarrassed,” she confesses), she still does not seem to have figured it out. At this point, she pauses to explain why she’s making this short film in the first place: “My parents’ biggest rule is I’m not allowed to have any public social-media accounts. Here’s why.” Cut to a second-long clip of her holding up a Grammy Award and smiling for the camera.
She goes on: “Because they don’t want me to be a nepotism kid. But TikTok’s not going to make me famous, so it doesn’t really matter.” It’s not clear if Romy foresaw that we would be watching this as a viral clip circulating on Twitter, but it adds a beautiful element of irony to the situation.
The rest of the 50-second video is a disorienting tonal journey in which Romy manages to introduce two new characters (though the camp friend remains a mystery), give us a fleeting glimpse into the Coppola family trauma by way of her babysitter’s boyfriend, and propose a new gender for the word “fiasco.” Her mother may have made her movie debut in The Godfather, but I much prefer Romy’s guerrilla approach to nepotism cinema.
Anyway, it appears that Romy has since deleted the TikTok account she posted the video from, which was created a few days ago. Assuming she figures out a way to circumvent her parents’ rules again, I can’t wait to see her sophomore project. Perhaps her camp friend can make a FaceTime cameo to help Romy boil the pasta water?