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Francis Ford Coppola debuts 'Megalopolis' in Cannes, and the reviews are in

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Francis Ford Coppola debuts 'Megalopolis' in Cannes, and the reviews are in
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Francis Ford Coppola debuts 'Megalopolis' in Cannes, and the reviews are in

2024-05-17 14:21 Last Updated At:14:31

CANNES, France (AP) — Francis Ford Coppola on Thursday premiered his self-financed opus “Megalopolis” at the Cannes Film Festival, unveiling a wildly ambitious passion project the 85-year-old director has been pondering for decades.

Reviews ranged from “a folly of gargantuan proportions" to “the craziest thing I've ever seen.” But most assuredly, once again, Coppola had everyone in Cannes talking.

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Laurence Fishburne, from left, director Francis Ford Coppola, and Giancarlo Esposito pose for photographers upon departure at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Millie Turner/Invision/AP)

CANNES, France (AP) — Francis Ford Coppola on Thursday premiered his self-financed opus “Megalopolis” at the Cannes Film Festival, unveiling a wildly ambitious passion project the 85-year-old director has been pondering for decades.

Grace VanderWaal, from left, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, director Francis Ford Coppola, and Romy Mars pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Grace VanderWaal, from left, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, director Francis Ford Coppola, and Romy Mars pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Shia LaBeouf, from left, Jon Voight, D. B. Sweeney, and Grace VanderWaal pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Shia LaBeouf, from left, Jon Voight, D. B. Sweeney, and Grace VanderWaal pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Chloe Fineman, Nathalie Emmanuel, director Francis Ford Coppola, Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza and Jon Voight pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Chloe Fineman, Nathalie Emmanuel, director Francis Ford Coppola, Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza and Jon Voight pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Chloe Fineman poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Chloe Fineman poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Shia LaBeouf poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Shia LaBeouf poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola, third from right, poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola, third from right, poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Grace VanderWaal, from left, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, director Francis Ford Coppola, Romy Mars and Adam Driver pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Grace VanderWaal, from left, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, director Francis Ford Coppola, Romy Mars and Adam Driver pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Chloe Fineman, Nathalie Emmanuel, director Francis Ford Coppola, Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, and Jon Voight pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Chloe Fineman, Nathalie Emmanuel, director Francis Ford Coppola, Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, and Jon Voight pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver, from left, director Francis Ford Coppola, Laurence Fishburne and Kathryn Hunter pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver, from left, director Francis Ford Coppola, Laurence Fishburne and Kathryn Hunter pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

No debut this year was awaited with more curiosity in Cannes than “Megalopolis,” which Coppola poured $120 million of his own money into after selling off a portion of his wine estate. Not unlike Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” some 45 years ago, “Megalopolis” arrived trailed by rumors of production turmoil and doubt over its potential appeal.

What Coppola unveiled defies easy categorization. It’s a fable set in a futuristic New York about an architect (Adam Driver) who has a grand vision of a more harmonious metropolis, and whose considerable talents include the ability to start and stop time. Though “Megalopolis” is set in a near-future, it’s fashioned as a Roman epic. Driver’s character is named Cesar and the film’s New York includes a modern Coliseum.

The cast includes Aubrey Plaza as an ambitious TV journalist named Wow Platinum, Giancarlo Esposito as the mayor, Laurence Fishburne as Cesar’s driver (and the film’s narrator) and Shia LaBeouf as an unpleasant cousin named Claudio.

Coppola, wearing a straw hat and holding a cane, walked the Cannes carpet Thursday, often clinging to the arm of his granddaughter, Romy Coppola Mars, while the soundtrack to “The Godfather” played over festival loudspeakers.

After the screening, the Cannes audience stood in a lengthy ovation for Coppola and the film. The director eventually took the microphone to emphasize his movie's ultimate meaning.

“We are one human family and that's who we should pledge our allegiance to,” Coppola told the crowd. He added that Esperanza is “the most beautiful word in the English language” because it means hope.

Many reviews were blisteringly bad. Peter Bradshaw for The Guardian called it “megabloated and megaboring.” Tim Grierson for Screen Daily called it a “disaster” “stymied by arbitrary plotting and numbing excess.” Kevin Maher for the Times of London wrote that it's a “head-wrecking abomination.” Critic Jessica Kiang said “Megalopolis” “is a folly of such gargantuan proportions it’s like observing the actual fall of Rome.”

But some critics responded with admiration for the film's ambition. With fondness, New York Magazine's Bilge Ebiri said the film “might be the craziest thing I've ever seen.” David Ehrlich for IndieWire praised a “creatively unbound approach” that “may not have resulted in a surplus of dramatically coherent scenes, but it undergirds the entire movie with a looseness that makes it almost impossible to look away.”

“Is it a distancing work of hubris, a gigantic folly, or a bold experiment, an imaginative bid to capture our chaotic contemporary reality, both political and social, via the kind of large-canvas, high-concept storytelling that’s seldom attempted anymore?” wrote David Rooney for The Hollywood Reporter. "The truth is it’s all those things."

“Megalopolis” is dedicated to Eleanor Coppola, the director’s wife who died last month.

Coppola is seeking a distributor for “Megalopolis.” Ahead of its premiere, the film was acquired for some European territories. Richard Gelfond, IMAX’s chief executive, said “Megalopolis” — which Coppola believes is best viewed on IMAX — will play globally on the company’s large-format screens.

In numerous places in “Megalopolis,” Coppola, who once penned the book “Live Cinema and its Techniques,” experimentally pushes against filmmaking convention. At a screening Thursday, a man emerged mid-film, walked across the stage to a microphone and posed a question to Driver’s character on the screen above.

Several weeks ahead of Cannes, Coppola privately screened “Megalopolis” in Los Angeles. Word quickly filtered out that many were befuddled by the experimental film they had just watched. "There are zero commercial prospects and good for him,” one attendee told Puck.

Laurence Fishburne, from left, director Francis Ford Coppola, and Giancarlo Esposito pose for photographers upon departure at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Millie Turner/Invision/AP)

Laurence Fishburne, from left, director Francis Ford Coppola, and Giancarlo Esposito pose for photographers upon departure at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Millie Turner/Invision/AP)

Grace VanderWaal, from left, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, director Francis Ford Coppola, and Romy Mars pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Grace VanderWaal, from left, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, director Francis Ford Coppola, and Romy Mars pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Shia LaBeouf, from left, Jon Voight, D. B. Sweeney, and Grace VanderWaal pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Shia LaBeouf, from left, Jon Voight, D. B. Sweeney, and Grace VanderWaal pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Chloe Fineman, Nathalie Emmanuel, director Francis Ford Coppola, Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza and Jon Voight pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Chloe Fineman, Nathalie Emmanuel, director Francis Ford Coppola, Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza and Jon Voight pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Chloe Fineman poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Chloe Fineman poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Shia LaBeouf poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Shia LaBeouf poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola, third from right, poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola, third from right, poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Grace VanderWaal, from left, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, director Francis Ford Coppola, Romy Mars and Adam Driver pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Grace VanderWaal, from left, Giancarlo Esposito, Aubrey Plaza, director Francis Ford Coppola, Romy Mars and Adam Driver pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Aubrey Plaza poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Andreea Alexandru/Invision/AP)

Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Chloe Fineman, Nathalie Emmanuel, director Francis Ford Coppola, Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, and Jon Voight pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Giancarlo Esposito, from left, Chloe Fineman, Nathalie Emmanuel, director Francis Ford Coppola, Adam Driver, Aubrey Plaza, and Jon Voight pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Daniel Cole/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver, from left, director Francis Ford Coppola, Laurence Fishburne and Kathryn Hunter pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Adam Driver, from left, director Francis Ford Coppola, Laurence Fishburne and Kathryn Hunter pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

Director Francis Ford Coppola poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Megalopolis' at the 77th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Thursday, May 16, 2024. (Photo by Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The third day of the Republican National Convention kicks off Wednesday with Republicans — led by the newly nominated Donald Trump and JD Vance — shifting to issues of national security and foreign policy.

Republicans are expected to focus on Democratic President Joe Biden's handling of the ongoing crises in Europe and the Middle East. Former Trump administration officials are expected to take the stage to outline what foreign policy would look like in a second Trump term.

The lineup will include speeches from Richard Grenell, Trump's former acting director of national intelligence, and Scott Neil, who served as a Green Beret in Afghanistan.

And Vance is expected to accept his party's nomination for vice president.

Here’s what to watch for on the third day of the RNC:

Despite his relative celebrity after publishing the memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” the 39-year-old Ohio senator is unknown to many Americans — and even to many top Republicans in Milwaukee. He'll get the chance to address a national audience Wednesday night.

Expect a speech that introduces his family — his wife, Usha, and their three children — and his endorsement of Trump's policies.

Vance beat out North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida to be Trump's running mate. He has developed a strong rapport with the former president over the years, speaking regularly by phone.

Trump has also complimented Vance’s beard, saying he “looks like a young Abraham Lincoln."

Former Trump White House official Peter Navarro was released from a Florida prison on Wednesday and is expected to speak hours later at the Republican National Convention.

Navarro, who was a Trump trade adviser, was released from custody after completing a four-month sentence for refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Navarro will head straight to Milwaukee to speak at the third night of the RNC. He is set to speak in the 6 p.m. hour Central time, according to a person familiar with the schedule who spoke on the condition of anonymity before the schedule’s official release.

Many of the speeches Wednesday will take aim at the Biden administration's handling of global issues, including the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, according to Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee, with the theme of “Make America Strong Once Again.”

“Under Joe Biden, the weakest commander-in-chief in our country’s history, America has become a global laughingstock,” the committee claimed in a statement.

Republicans see foreign policy as one of their strongest campaign issues, arguing that America's standing on the world stage was stronger under Trump despite the party's growing isolationist shift.

“I can tell you, countries around the world, leaders, are absolutely uncomfortable with the unpredictability of Donald Trump," Grenell, Trump’s former ambassador to Germany, said during a reporters' roundtable Monday. “And when I say uncomfortable, that means they don’t know exactly what he’s going to do next. And that’s a positive for us.”

It is an argument he will likely make again Wednesday night.

While the focus of Wednesday's session is expected to be beyond America's borders, Republicans are expected to also highlight how Biden's supposed “weakness” on immigration is also endangering the U.S. reputation abroad. Many speakers have already documented claims that a growing number of foreign terrorists have been able to illegally get into the U.S. from Mexico. Republicans have pointed to the arrests last month on U.S. soil of eight people from Tajikistan with suspected ties to the Islamic State group.

Associated Press writers Alanna Durkin Richer and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

Follow the AP's coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

A supporter holds his hat during the national anthem at the Republican National Convention, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A supporter holds his hat during the national anthem at the Republican National Convention, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Georgia delegate Kathleen Thornman takes a picture with her phone during the Republican National Convention Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Georgia delegate Kathleen Thornman takes a picture with her phone during the Republican National Convention Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Delegates dance during the Republican National Convention, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Delegates dance during the Republican National Convention, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Former US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell is seen during a walkthrough for the Republican National Convention Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Former US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell is seen during a walkthrough for the Republican National Convention Sunday, July 14, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Texas delegates cheer during the Republican National Convention, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Texas delegates cheer during the Republican National Convention, Tuesday, July 16, 2024, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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