Mon, May 01, 2017 - Page 4 News List

‘Godfather’ cast reunites for a 45th anniversary

Reuters, NEW YORK

Al Pacino was considered too short, Marlon Brando was required to do a screen test and director Francis Ford Coppola was almost fired.

The director and cast of The Godfather on Saturday reminisced in a 45th anniversary reunion in New York City about the trials, perseverance and inspiration that resulted in the Oscar-winning Mafia movies.

Coppola, Pacino, Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, James Caan, Talia Shire and Robert Duvall watched back-to-back screenings of The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974) along with an audience of 6,000 on the closing night of the Tribeca film festival.

“I haven’t seen these movies for years,” Coppola said. “I found [watching] a very emotional experience. I forgot a lot about the making of it and thought about the story, and the story used a lot of family and my personal stuff.”

The two films won nine Oscars and became movie classics.

However, The Godfather had a less than auspicious start. Coppola recalled that Hollywood studio Paramount wanted to set the movie in the 1970s and make something “cheap and quick.”

Coppola was almost fired several times and met stiff resistance to the casting of both Pacino as Michael Corleone and Brando as the titular Godfather.

“I was told [by studio executives] that having Brando in the film would make it less commercial than having a total unknown,” Coppola said, adding that the studio later agreed “if Marlon will do a screen test and do it for nothing and put up a million dollar bond that he wouldn’t cause trouble during the production.”

Newcomer Pacino had to screen test “countless times” because studio bosses though he was too short and wanted to cast Robert Redford or Ryan O’Neal.

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