Tribeca Film Festival
Francis Ford Coppola and multiple major cast members of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II got together on stage Saturday at a panel celebrating the film and diving in to some previously unknown anecdotes about the making of the movie. Joining Coppola were his sister Talia Shire, Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, and James Caan. Of course, a few members of the cast weren’t there because they’d passed on but the panel honored Marlon Brando with a framed picture behind their seats to have him be there in spirt. During the discussion, Francis Ford Coppola revealed his original thoughts about the book. He said,
“I was disappointed in the book when I first read it because it’s very long. Much of the book — about a third — is about Lucy Mancini’s anatomy.”
However, he read it because it was a foreign author and an “intellectual book about power” and thank God he did otherwise we might not have the Godfather trilogy at all today. Coppola also fought for the casting of certain people, including Shire and Al Pacino himself. In regards to almost getting fired at one point, he said,
“The cast was always up in the air and there was a lot of controversy. As long as I’m going to get fired, probably, my sister should at least get a chance.”
Pacino added, of his constant push to be cast in the film,
“It seemed like I was always testing. I was still testing after I got the part….I thought, [Michael] is not a good role.”
At one point he was convinced the project was a complete dud, he recalled on stage. Luckily, he was of course wrong. Anyone who sat through the panel was granted insight to the process and might even be motivated now to watch The Godfather Part III (or not).