Godfather Cast and Director Reunion
Posted on May 4, 2017 at 8:00 am
The cast and director of “The Godfather” got together to talk about the making of the film in honor of its 45th anniversary on the last night of the Tribeca Film Festival, founded by “Godfather 2” star Robert de Niro.
According to Coppola, he ran into roadblocks at every turn, as studio Paramount looked simply to cash in with a quickie movie based on Mario Puzo’s runaway bestselling novel.
“Without Francis, where would I be?” said Pacino, remembering how Paramount fought to cast someone else as the infamous Michael Corleone, a career-defining role for which Pacino would eventually collect two Oscar nominations.
“Once I called after he had tested six times,” Coppola remembered. “His girlfriend came on the phone and I said, ‘I just need Al to come in one more time’ and she said, ‘What are you doing to him? You’re torturing him!’ She yelled at me and berated me.”
When Pacino got the part, he considered it at length. “I used to live 90th and Broadway and used to walk to the Village and back everyday and I did it thinking about this role,” he said. “I was trying to figure out where I could go with it.”
Even casting Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone, the Godfather himself, was a headache. Executives were adamant that casting Brando wouldn’t be “commercially beneficial”, at one point even forbidding Coppola from even bringing up Brando’s name….Despite the incredible success of the two films – academy awards, status as one of the highest grossing movies in Hollywood history, a lasting cultural impact – Coppola issued a warning.
“Today it wouldn’t get a go-ahead,” he said. “The first Godfather cost $6.5m and the second cost about $11m or $12m. If you convert that, it would take a major studio (to make it), but it would never get through the process of getting an OK.
“Nothing can get a green light unless it’s a movie that they can have a whole series of, or a Marvel comic.”