Godfather, The: Reunion and Celebration of Coppola’s Classic Films

The Godfather (1972) The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, James Caan, Talia Shire

Taylor Hackford (moderator)

April 29, 2017, Tribeca Film Festival, New York

Francis Ford Coppola:  It’s a true story.  We were living in San Francisco and it was a Sunday and we had looked at the New York Times, and I looked at the book section.  I noticed an ad that seemed intriguing.  It had this puppeteer string and it was called, “The Godfather” by Mario Puzo.  I had never heard of the book or the author.  I was attracted to it because I thought it was a kind of foreign author and an intellectual book about power.  And just as I was thinking, “I wonder what that is,” there was a knock on the door and it was Al Ruddy, whom maybe I had met, and Gray Frederickson. They were in San Francisco doing, “Little Fauss and Big Halsy”, which was a San Francisco location picture.  They had heard that I had moved to San Francisco and were just dropping by.  They weren’t associated with, “The Godfather.”  And then the phone rang while they were there, and of all people, it was Marlon Brando calling me to turn down the script, “The Conversation,” which I had submitted to him.  I had never spoken or met Marlon Brando and I, as any drama student from the fifties, thought Marlon Brando, Elia Kazan, and Tennessee Williams was a trio of the most august people that can be.  Marlon was very nice when he turned me down and called me personally to tell me that.  I’ve often thought, how odd, that is. That on that one day, Gray and Al Ruddy who were going to be the producers of, “The Godfather”, the book itself had struck my eye, and Marlon Brando, who was eventually to appear in it, all kind of came together on that day.  I tell that story and always say, “but it’s really true, it really happened on that one day.”  Its pretty remarkable.

Reaction to the Book

Coppola: I was disappointed in the book when I first read it.  Because it was very long, and I don’t know if any of you have read the book, but if you remember; much of the book, maybe a third or quarter of it was about Lucy Mancini’s anatomy. (laughter) You haven’t read the book, I can see.  On the first reading I thought the book was a little bit of a pot boiler.  May I say, since I’m here, many of the folks I haven’t seen recently but I’d like to just thank those who aren’t here anymore; Johnny  Cazale, Al Lettieri, who played Sollozzo, Salvatore Corsitto, who was the man in the beginning in America who got the part in an open call.  And of course Marlon Brando.

Coppola: Michael Gazzo is in part two. And Richard Castellano.  But also let me briefly thank some people who were very importantly involved in this movie. Starting on the production end; Certainly, Al Ruddy and Gray Frederickson, Bob Evans, a very controversial figure. A sort of extraordinary man that was not without talent I must say. Made my life miserable but he put a lot into, “The Godfather.” And of course, the great Gordon Willis who photographed it.  Dean Tavoularis, the production designer. Anna Hill Johnstone who did the costumes, and many other people, but I just wanted to mention those folks who were so importantly to do with this film.

Casting Director: Fred Roos

Coppola: Definitely, he should be mentioned with those others I just mentioned.  Fred Roos was the director of casting.

James Caan: Well Coppola was a year ahead of me.  You can tell by our speech patterns.  But I knew Francis when I was twenty-three, twenty-four.  He lived in the back of my house.  What did I charge you? About twenty-five, thirty cents?

Coppola: We didn’t go to Hosftra at the same time, and he wasn’t involved in the drama department at Hofstra.

James Caan: No, I wasn’t involved with Hofstra at all actually.

Coppola: You were there…

James Caan: Yeah no, I got out of there.  But we did, “The Rain People” and the thing that you said, that impressed me the most, is that because of this guy right here (pats Francis Ford Coppola’s shoulder) has there ever been, for me, a gathering of actors like the likes of these people.  Nor has there been a crew that reached the top in every single one of their departments.  So Francis, somehow just knew who had it and who didn’t and knew where every character was at every second.  And most importantly, I had a great time.  Bobby (Robert) Duvall was great, and Al.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get to work with the other Bobby D (Robert De Niro).  I got together with him (Robert Duvall) because of, “The Rain People” and it was great.  The big thing is because he was a Mediterranean Italian and not a Brooklyn Italian.  Family.

Robert Duvall

Robert Duvall: I was in “The Rain People” but I was only in it because somebody else got fired. Remember you put him out and I came in? It was great to be there with Jimmy and everybody in the Midwest. And after that George Lucas was there. It was a wonderful experience.  I never got to know Francis that much because he was really very busy.  He didn’t say much to me but it was great being there.  And then when we went to do, “The Godfather” it was kind of a make shift audition we all had up in San Francisco. I want to thank Francis for giving me the part, and thank Bobby (Robert De Niro) for having this tonight. This is wonderful.  I don’t know what else to say, except that we had a great time working together in, “The Godfather” and Brando particularly liked Jimmy Caan because Jimmy can be pretty funny.  When Jimmy would tell a joke, it would take Brando three seconds to get it, then he would (mimics Brando’s laugh).  It was a good experience and here we all are many years later.  I want to thank Francis for giving me the part, it was kind of a catalyst to my career.  Between him and Horton Foote. They were two people who really helped my career.

Talia Shire

Talia Shire: I asked for an audition. And I was in that same place that you were (Robert Duvall) in that downstairs place.  You were there (Al Pacino) and we were all sitting there.  I asked for an audition and it was tough for me and it was tougher for my brother, honestly.  During that first, “Godfather” for a few weeks your job as the director was up for grabs.  And the last thing he needed was his sister, who couldn’t figure out what a mark was.  I think that one of my first scenes, I walked into the camera and knocked it down, I did that.  It was Marlon Brando who said, “That’s ok.”  I have to tell you that it wasn’t easy and you didn’t need me to but you were very kind and thank you.

Coppola: I didn’t see Tali (nickname) as Connie because, I felt, from my interpretation, that Connie was a kind of homely Italian daughter that only got to marry a good-looking guy like the husband because she was a wealthy and powerful girl.  To me, I thought Tali was so beautiful that anyone would want to marry her, much less that she’s the daughter.  So I thought she was wrong for the part.  I thought she should be the girl who was sort of homely and you can see the logic of that.  I must say that it was Bob Evans who championed her.   And at a time when the cast was always up in the air and there was a lot of controversy which I will tell you about.  At one point I was sent to England to meet Marlon Brando.  He was making a picture there and he was very gracious.  But when I got back, I had a message from my secretary and I called her from a phonebooth and she said, “it’s very important; don’t quit. Let them fire you.” I knew immediately what that meant.  I didn’t have any money. I had two kids and one on the way, and I was totally broke.  I knew that if they fired me, then they would have to pay me. But if I quit, they wouldn’t.  So I thought it was all over and I called the studio, thinking; why should I even come in if you’re going to fire me.  There was a big shuffle, if we have time we will go into the casting, but they said, “Ok, Al Pacino is going to play Michael and Jimmy Caan is gonna play Sonny, and..” you were never a doubt Bobby (Robert Duvall), you were always kind of agreed upon.  At least in my mind, and I never got any static over you. And Tali would play Connie.   I thought that as long I was going to get fired then my sister should at least get the chance.

Talia Shire: But don’t you see? What a horrible conflict for you to have me when all of that was…

Coppola: No, once we did it and rehearsed it, then I could see that you were working really well.

Diane Keaton:

Diane Keaton: I honestly don’t know.  The strangest thing about it was that I auditioned and it seemed to me… now maybe I got this wrong, Francis… but it seemed to me that I got the part but I didn’t understand why, and I still don’t.  Then I read recently that Francis thought I was eccentric. Yeah, right. He wasn’t wrong but it seemed to me that I auditioned with several other potential Michaels.

Coppola: You auditioned with a hundred Michael.  I had seen you with Richard Castellano in, “Lovers and Other Strangers.”  And from that picture I thought you would be an excellent Kay.

Diane Keaton: Oh you did?

Francis Ford Coppola:  To say you were eccentric, that’s not entirely… Kay was written as this New England Wasp in the book.

Diane Keaton: yes

Francis Ford Coppola: And she was pretty straight.  And I felt, how could I the interest and something beyond being a beautiful kind of, that type of…

Diane Keaton: Woman

Francis Ford Coppola: Wasp woman. How could she have some stuff that would be interesting. And I felt that just the mere casting of you playing the beautiful wasp girlfriend would give it a lot of texture and interest.  And that’s why I cast you.

Diane Keaton: Well I appreciate that. (applause)

 

Taylor Hackford: SO NOW WE COME TO THE ROLE OF MICHAEL. THIS IS A SAGA ALL ITSELF. BOB EVANS WAS MENTIONED.  MY RESEARCH SAYS THAT BOB EVANS DID NOT WANT AL PACINO.  HE THOUGHT HE WAS TOO, “SHORT FOR THE ROLE.” (laughter) I’M MEAN SERIOUSLY, IN MUCH MORE DEROGATORY TERMS.

Al Pacino:  That’s sort of true

 

Taylor Hackford: NO, ITS NOT TRUE AT ALL.  BUT THE FACT IS THAT THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS AT A STUDIO.  AS A FILMMAKER, YOU GO IN AND YOU’VE GOT YOUR IDEAS.  AL HAD DONE, “THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK”

Francis Ford Coppola: But that hadn’t come out.

 

Taylor Hackford: DID YOU SEE IT?

Francis Ford Coppola: No

 

Taylor Hackford: OH MY GOD

Francis Ford Coppola: He was doing it and it came out much later.  Ultimately, they did see it.  Evans and the Paramount people did see it close to when they made that final switch. But what was interesting was that Al had gotten a part in, “The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight” so he wasn’t even available when they finally made the decision.

 

 

Taylor Hackford: TELL US WHAT YOU SAW IF YOU DIDN’T SEE, “THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK.”

Francis Ford Coppola: In a nutshell, what it was is I had met Al. He came to San Francisco to visit me. I had written another screenplay about a kind of guy like me, an Italian guy. And I heard Al was a wonderful theater actor and I invited him to come to San Francisco and he came and spent maybe almost a week with me and I got to hang out with him and enjoy his company.  Later, when they gave me, “The Godfather” script to read.  Every time I read it I always saw his face. And in the scene in particular when he was walking across Sicily with the shepherds, I just saw a handsome young guy with black hair. (applause) Once you see someone in the role during the reading, it’s very hard to get that out of your head.

 

Taylor Hackford: AL, LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT AS A YOUNG ACTOR, YOU HAVE A DIRECTOR WHO WANTS YOU TO HAVE THE PART. AND YOU HAVE A STUDIO WHO IS SENDING NEGATIVE MESSAGES.  HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU TEST FOR THIS ROLE?

Al Pacino: Countless, I can’t count it.  It seemed liked I was always testing.  I kept testing after I got the part.  (laughter)

 

Francis Ford Coppola: Once I called him after he had tested six times and his girlfriend got on the phone, and I said, “If Al would just come in one more time” and she says, “What are you doing to him?!” (laughter) and she just yelled at me and berated me. Saying that I was torturing him.

 

Taylor Hackford: AND THAT’S TRUE. WELL YOU WEREN’T TORTURING HIM.

Al Pacino: Well actually, I even said to him, without Frances where would I be.  At the same time, I even said to him, “Francis, its ok, we’ll work again, there is other things to do.” He said, “No, I want you.”  I thought, this guy can’t be happening.  I’m dreaming or something. This is too much. I said, “Ok, fine then. I’ll do whatever.”  Then finally got accepted.

Francis Ford Coppola: I think it was, “The Panic in Needle Park.”  When they finally saw some footage, and saw his power on the frame.

 

Taylor Hackford:  BUT I THINK THESE THINGS GO ON AND THEN AT A CERTAIN POINT, AS AN ACTOR…

Al Pacino: You don’t want to do it anymore. I mean really, it’s just a thing with me. I’ll say it because it’s true. You don’t want to be somewhere where you’re not wanted. I even said it to Francis.  I’m not interested in that at all.

 

Taylor Hackford: AND THEY YOU GOT ANOTHER PART, YOU GOT, “THE GANG WHO COULDN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT” IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THIS.

Francis Ford Coppola:  Bobby was involved in that.  Bobby had done a wonderful reading audition. One that you would say, wow.

 

Taylor Hackford: FOR MICHAEL?

Francis Ford Coppola: Actually, it was for Sonny. But it was totally unusual and real and just different. I was very impressed and so I, for sure, wanted him to be in the movie so I cast him as Paulie Gatto, the guy who was the traitor.  And then he called me and said he was up for a part in, “The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight” but he didn’t want to take the part because he didn’t want to lose Paulie Gatto. I told him to go for the part, if he got it – great, If he didn’t I would hold the part for him. I wouldn’t cast anyone else. So, he did get the part.  When I came back from England and I heard he didn’t get the part so he would ply Paulie Gatto.  Al did get a part in, “The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight” and was legally signed and everything so I didn’t know how they could put him in, “The Godfather.”

 

 

Al Pacino: So then they wound up suing me. So, by the time they finished, “The Godfather” I had no money but I owed but I owed fifteen grand for lawyers. (laughter) I remember that.

 

Taylor Hackford: BUT THE INTERESTING THING IS THAT AL IS SIGNED TO MGM TO DO THE, “THE GANG WHO COULDN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT” AND PARAMOUNT FINALLY DECIDES TO PUT HIM IN, “THE GODFATHER” THE GUY WHO WAS RUNNING MGM WAS A GUY CALLED JIM AUBREY WHO WAS ALSO KNOWN AS, “THE SMILING COBRA.” HE HAD BEEN THE HEAD OF CBS AND WAS NOW THE HEAD OF MGM AND TAKING IT DOWN.  NOT AN EASY MAN.  BOB EVANS DIDN’T KNOW HIS WAY AROUND HOLLYWOOD. HE CALLED A MAN NAMED, SIDNEY KORSHAK.  WHO WAS THE MOB’S “FIXER” IN HOLLYWOOD.  HE’S NOT KNOWN, HE NEVER HAD AN OFFICE.

Francis Ford Coppola: Sort of like the scene Bob played with the producer in Hollywood, in, “The Godfather”

 

Taylor Hackford: YES. HE WAS A LAWYER FROM CHICAGO WHO REPRESENTED THE CHICAGO MOB IN HOLLYWOOD.  BOB EVANS TALKED TO HIM.  HE CALLED JIM AUBREY AND ALL OF THE SUDDEN AL WAS ABLE TO DO, BOBBY GOT, “THE GANG WHO COULDN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT” AND IN THIS INSTANCE YOU SEE THEY ARE BOTH GETTING THEIR FIRST BIG ROLES. AMAZING STORY. YOU FINALLY GOT WHAT YOU WANTED, FRANCIS, EVEN THOUGH THEY THREATENED TO FIRE YOU.

Francis Ford Coppola: But the test that Bobby talks to when they all went to in San Francisco, including Diane. They had the whole cast for like a $6.00 screen test.  My wife was doing the haircuts and they were not satisfied so we then spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with every bright young leading man. In fact we did so many screentest that I remember, and this is no doubt true, Charlie Bluhdorn said, “I saw your two hundred screentests they are all terrible.  Those actors can’t all be terrible. There are so many actors but there is only one director. It is the director that is terrible.” (laughter)

 

Taylor Hackford: CHARLES BLUHDORN HAD A BIG CONGLOMERATE CALLED, “GULF+WESTERN.” HE OWNED PARAMOUNT AND HE WAS A COLORFUL CHARACTER.  FRANCIS, NOW THAT WE’VE TALKED ABOUT THE PEOPLE ON THE STAGE. I THINK IT’S REALLY INTERESTING THAT YOU WROTE A PART IN, “THE CONVERSATION”, WHICH WAS A FANTASTIC MOVIE FOR MARLON BRANDO AND HE TURNED IT DOWN.  HOW DID YOU CONVINCE HIM TO DO THIS ROLE?

Francis Ford Coppola: It wasn’t a matter of convincing Marlon Brando, it was a matter of convincing Paramount.  I never talked with Marlon again after that turn down but I was told by the executives at Paramount that absolutely Brando who had been in Quemada for the film, “Burnt!” which had been unsuccessful, that having Brando in the film would be less commercially then if a total unknown had did it. Finally, I was told, by the President of Paramount, “Francis, as President of Paramount Pictures I am telling you Marlon Brando will not appear in this picture and I prohibit you from bringing up his name again.” After that I sort of, like Kevin Kline, I fell on the floor in a faint. And they all looked. I said, “well if I can’t even talk about him, what am I supposed to do? I think Marlon Brando would be great.” And Fred Roos, who was involved with all of the people, said, “Alright, if Marlon will do a screentest, if he’ll do it for nothing, and if he’ll put up a million dollar bond that he won’t cause trouble during the production then you can have him.” (laughter) and I said, “I except!” and ultimately, they left the door open just a tiny bit and then a whole lot of stuff went on how he actually got the part.

 

 

Taylor Hackford: BRANDO WAS FORTY-SEVEN WHEN HE DID THIS ROLE. YOU SEE HIM ON THE SCREEN AND YOU CAN’T BELIEVE IT.  DICK SMITH WAS THE MAKE-UP PERSON YOU USED.  WAS IT DICK SMITH OR DID BRANDO JUST BECOME?

Francis Ford Coppola: Brando was himself.  Dick Smith was a genius at what he did. He took it to the next level. But, when I went to Brando’s one early morning, I said to do some improvisation, I didn’t say it was a screen-test. I went and I brought provolone cheese, salami, props I could put around. He came out of his bedroom that early morning and he was beautiful. He had long blonde hair, and he had a Japanese robe on. Not a word was spoken.  He saw me there, he saw there was a camera.  He took his hair and rolled it up, then put shoe polish on it. Then put a shirt on and started bending the colors. He said, “they always have the colors bent.” And he would take a little bite of the provolone.  Then he took some paper and stuffed it in his jaws. He said, “These should be like a bulldog.” Then he also said, “he was shot in the throat, so maybe he should talk like this.” (imitates Brando) and he started turning into the character.  Even as he was there doing that the phone rang and he picked up the phone still in character. He had totally turned in the character.  I had it all on video tape and that is really what did the trick.

 

Taylor Hackford: WHEN YOU HAVE THIS IN MIND WITH BRANDO. WE KNOW WHO BRANDO IS AND WHAT HE HAD DONE.  HE CAME OUT OF AND HE WAS JUST INCREDIBLE IN EVERYTHING.  BUT WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING LIKE THAT HAPPENING IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES. WHERE YOU, INSIDE, JUMPING UP AND CLICKING YOUR HEELS?

Francis Ford Coppola: Oh, I thought it was miraculous. I was very impressed with him.  I communicated with him.  You don’t talk to Marlon about acting stuff. He just wants to hear louder or not so loud.  Or he wants to be told where the camera frame is going to be or you could put props, like I put that cat in his hand.  He just would use whatever.

 

Taylor Hackford: DID YOU LITERALLY PICK THAT CAT UP AND PUT IT IN HIS HANDS?

Francis Ford Coppola: Yeah, it was a studio cat. It was only one take, I picked it up and put it in his… (applause)

 

Taylor Hackford: MY GOD

Talia Shire: Oh my God

 

Taylor Hackford: THAT WAS A QUESTION I WAS GOING TO ASK. WHEN YOU SEE THE UNDERTAKER FIRST, TALKING. THEN YOU FINALLY COME AROUND AND YOU SEE BRANDO.  AND WHEN YOU SEE HIM; HE IS SITTING THERE AND HE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE THE MARLON BRANDO THAT WE KNEW AT THE TIME, AND THERE IS THIS AMAZING CAT IN HIS LAP. THE CAT IS SO COMFORTABLE, AND HE IS SCRATCHING THE CAT AND YOU HEAR THE CAT PURRING.  IN FACT, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I READ FROM THE SOUND DEPARTMENT IS THEY SAID THEY WENT TO DAILIES AND THEY SAID, “WHAT THE HELL IS HE SAYING?” PARAMOUNT WAS WATCHING THE DAILIES AND COULDN’T HEAR ANYTHING EXCEPT THE CAT!

Francis Ford Coppola: Brando had a wonderful way with children and animals.  He loved children and animals.  He was very comfortable with them and they were comfortable with him.

 

Taylor Hackford: ONE THING I WANT TO MENTION IS SOMEONE WHO IS NOT HEAR, JOHN CAZALE. (APPLAUSE) THERE IS AN AMAZING THING THAT HAPPENED A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO AT THE END OF BARACK OBAMA’S TERM AS PRESIDENT.  HE WENT TO TAHOE TO GIVE A SPEECH.  THE LOCAL PAPER INTERVIEWED HIM AND ASKED HIM WHAT HE THOUGHT OF BEAUTIFUL LAKE TAHOE.  HE SAID THE ONLY THING HE COULD DO WHEN I WAS FLYING IN WAS POOR FREDO.  (LAUGHTER) THAT IN-ITSELF IS SUCH AN AMAZING TRIBUTE TO THIS FILM.  HE IS LOOKING AT THIS BEAUTIFUL THING AND HE THOUGHT OF JOHN CAZALE.  WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU MET HIM?  DID AL INTRODUCED YOU TO HIM?

Francis Ford Coppola: Fred Roos brought him and said he was a natural and that he should definitely be Fredo.

Al Pacino: He was a very close friend of mine. We had worked a lot together. We had done plays and…

Francis Ford Coppola: And, “Dog Day Afternoon”. (applause)

Al Pacino: “Dog Day Afternoon” came after

 

Taylor Hackford: IN, THE GODFATHER II” THE SCENE WHERE HE IS IN THE CHAIR AND HE SAYS, “I’M SMART.”  YOU WATCH SOMEBODY COMING APART.  LOOKING AT THAT PERFORMANCE STILL IS JUST SO STUNNING.   AND AGAIN, NOBODY ACTS ALONE, YOU ARE ALL FEEDING OFF EACH OTHER.  BOBBY MENTIONED THE STORY WHEN BRANDO BEGAN TO GET EMOTIONAL IN THE SCENE. 

James Caan: Oh God. (laughter) Well it was when I was laying there dead with a hundred and forty-seven bullets in me and Brando had to get emotionally prepared.  So he says, “give me a moment, give me a moment.” (imitates Brando with head in hand, preparing) and he says, “ok, let’s do this.”  Then about a day later, Bobby had to do something and I said, “would you give Bobby a moment?” and Bobby imitates Brando from earlier and then he just walks across the stage, that’s all.           But the thing that I did want to say was that Brando and his availability to everything.  That cat, I remember being there that morning. And (turning to Francis) wasn’t it just that same morning when you put the cat there?

Francis Ford Coppola: The cat is only in one take.

James Caan: Yeah, that cat sat there like it was there for a thousand years. He never even referred to it.

 

Taylor Hackford:  THE AMAZING THING ABOUT THE CAT IS THAT HE IS SITTING THERE AND WHEN BRANDO GETS UP HE PUTS THE CAT ON THE DESK, AND THE CAT JUST SITS DOWN ON THE DESK.  YOU FEEL THAT, THAT IS VITO’S CAT AND THAT HE IS REALLY COMFORTABLE WITH THAT.  WHEN THAT HAPPENS ITS SERENDIPITY

Francis Ford Coppola:  This is an interesting note but I think the key, for me, of what happened that made family was the rehearsal when we just had met Brando for the first time. We had a dinner in the back of Patsy’s restaurant and Tali served the food. I was sitting to the right.  Everyone was excited because Brando was there.  Jimmy was telling lots of jokes, trying to impress him that way.  And Al was just looking serious, trying to impress him.  (laughter) Every time Brando looked away, Bobby would do an impression of Brando (laughter). That dinner made me realize that improvisation with food is very lasting. They sort of had who they were going to be after that.

Robert Duvall: It was easy because Brando was like the Godfather to young actors.

James Caan: I want to tell a quick story about Francis.  We had Luca Brasi there one day and he had to come through this one door. Luca came in and he said, “Don Corleone, I am honored to be here on the day of your daughter’s wedding.” And Francis kept looking at him and looking at him.  He says, “Jimmy, do something.” I said, “What?” He said, “Go do something. Make him funny, make him do something different.”  So, I went over and I knew Lenny.  He was the biggest, strongest guy of all time.  I said, “Lenny, you gotta do me a favor. When the door opens and you’re in the close-up, when you say Don Corleone, stick your tongue out.”  I put a piece of tape on his tongue that said, “F You” on it. (laughter.) So, he opens the door and says, “Don Corleone” and did it and everybody laughed.  Francis thought this was great. So, they did it again and Marlon had, “F You too” (laughter) But the brilliance of it was when we went back to do it, he never changed. He never changed his tone.  So, three weeks later, at the wedding, Francis came up with Luca Brasi, which was never there, studying this speech. And that’s how he made it work.  It was brilliant.

Francis Ford Coppola: That was after

 

Taylor Hackford: IN OTHER WORDS, YOU DID THE SCENE IN THE OFFICE FIRST, AND THEN SHOT OUTSIDE.

Francis Ford Coppola: He never did get through the lines.  (imitates Lenny stuttering) and he kept sort of fumbling. So, I thought, if we shot him practicing it would then be funny.

 

Taylor Hackford: FRANCIS, LET’S TALK ABOUT LUCA BRASI. HE IS SUCH A UNIQUE CHARACTER. WAS HE A REAL ACTOR?

Francis Ford Coppola:  Let me put it this way.  There is a scene where he takes out a gun, puts bullets in and spins it. I said, “ok, take out the gun, put bullets in it and spin it. Can you do that?” he looked at me and said, “are you kiddin?” (laughter)

 

Taylor Hackford: THAT’S WHAT I HAD HEARD. THAT LENNY WAS ACTUALLY THE REAL DEAL

Francis Ford Coppola: (Shrugs) (laughter)

 

Taylor Hackford:  IF ANYONE HERE WANTS TO LEAVE YOU CAN LEAVE (referring to audience) BUT THE FACT IS; THIS IS A HISTORIC NIGHT AND I WANT TO STAY AND GET AS MUCH AS WE CAN GET.

Francis Ford Coppola: I feel that Al didn’t get to talk about getting the part.  I told my side of it and he didn’t tell his.

Al Pacino: That is such a long story.  But it starts with Francis and I in San Francisco getting to know each other because he wanted me to play another role. It was really great. I went to Zoetrope and sitting around a pool table was Spielberg, George Lucas, they’re all kids and have never done a movie, I don’t think.

Francis Ford Coppola: Everywhere we went in San Francisco the girls lit up for some reason. (applause)

Even after Diane did a million screentests, she came to me and said, “Pick Al, pick Al.” (applause)

Al Pacino: Anyway, I got back and they didn’t want me for the movie, he had written a beautiful movie.  You know Francis wrote, “Patton”, you know, with George C. Scott. (applause) He wrote that screenplay.   He is a great director and a great writer. And it was a great script. It was almost abstract.  An almost surreal movie about a professor who falls in love with one of his students.  It was beautifully written.  Anyway, they turned me down. Francis never did it.  I went away and a year later my phone rings in my apartment, and Francis says, “Hey Al, hi.” I said, “Who’s this?” he says, “It’s Francis.” It had been a year and my life was in a strange place. He said, “I just want you to know; I’m doing, The Godfather”.”  And I thought there was something wrong with him.  Of course, “The Godfather” was the biggest book and  you know, its tough in Hollywood.  Anyway, I thought it was strange. I said, “that’s great” I told him it was a great book, very entertaining.  He tells me he is thinking of using me as Michael Corleone.  And I thought he was really nuts. So I thought ok, let me just think about this here. I flash on the book and right away I start thinking, because I’m an actor, that its not a good role. Sonny is the part I want to play.  Its got meat in it and you can really get out there and do what Jimmy does.  Try to do it anyway. So there I am on the phone with him and I didn’t tell him I didn’t want to play Michael and he tells me, “Michael is you.” I said, “that’s really…” I almost said strange but I didn’t (laughter).  I hung up the phone and thought that it was either a dream, or a joke, or whatever. But sure enough it was real. Then started that whole trial of them not wanting me and Francis wanting me.

 

 

Francis Ford Coppola: What it really was is that Bob Evans was a tall, good looking guy.  And originally, he wanted Ryan O’Neill or Robert Redford.  Don’t laugh because there are blonde Sicilians.  They are famously blonde because the French where there for two hundred years, so there are blonde, blue-eyed Sicilians.  But I finally realized that Bob wanted someone who looked like him to play Michael. And I wanted someone who looked like me (laughter) not that you…

Al Pacino: Oh I see!

Francis Ford Coppola: When I was thinner you know, and I had dark hair.

Al Pacino: Yeah, you did. We could be related in a way (laughter) I just want to say this; When a director wants you for a part you’re lucky. It’s really something.  It’s like somebody likes you. You don’t know why they like you but they just like you. So you sort of like them, right?  (laughter) I mean, that’s sort of a thing.  He likes me so much, I dunno, I like him. So he wanted me so much, I thought well maybe I could play the role. I labored over that.  But the studio didn’t want me, we’ve been through that. And then they didn’t want me after they hired me.  And while we were filming, Francis was concerned.  Again, I was new to film, I didn’t know what to do.  But I had a sense of this character because I would think about it all the time. I was living on 90th and Broadway. And I’d walk to the village and back every day. It’s not a big thing, but I did it. And I did it thinking about this role. Just trying to figure out where could I go with it. Of course, I was unable to articulate it to Francis at the time. I just didn’t have the… as you can tell, it’s not easy for me to talk.  (laughter) But you’ll get used to it. In any event, I came and I started filming.  It was dizzying, the whole thing.  Diane and I in that whole wedding thing.  We got so loaded after that wedding scene. You were on the floor.

Francis Ford Coppola: You can’t from that wedding scene where he tells her about the guy, and the brains on the contract.  That was literally shot at night because we were so late.  We had lost the light, and we were in deep trouble schedule wise. We just pumped light into it.  I don’t know if you remember?

Al Pacino: Yeah, a lot of chaos going on there.

Francis Ford Coppola: It was very, very dark.

Al Pacino: But we were theater actors. We were not used to film. The whole thing had a kind of surreal feel to it.  We got back, and we started drinking. Talking about where do we go from here? We’re gone, it’s over, this is the worst film ever made. (laughter) We know nothing about it. So there it is and we’re going along and I come back in and nobody talks to me, only Francis.  The great guy for me, on this picture, was Al Ruddy.  For some reason, Al would always come up to me during shooting.  He would come up to me and say, “Hey kid, come here, come here. Pacino, listen to me. You’re gonna be great.  You’re gonna be great in this picture. You’re great, you understand?” I didn’t know what I was doing but it was encouraging.  He was the only one who spoke to me.  Because I would do scenes, you know, I would be in the middle of a scene and I really heard people giggling, snickering. I thought, what is that about? And it was about me. “Were did Francis get this guy?!” I remember Francis actually, do you remember the time you called me into Ginger Man’s?

Francis Ford Coppola: What did I say?

Al Pacino: You were sitting there with your family, and you were very nice to me.  The only thing you didn’t do was ask me (laughs) you didn’t ask me to sit down at the table. Which I took as a sort of strange reaction, and I thought, well I’ll stand here then.  (laughter) and you told me, straight out, that I got to start getting my chops together.  In a way he was saying, I sort of don’t know what you are doing. Then you did one of the most wonderful things.  You said, “I prepared the rushers, the takes, you’ve done and they’re at Paramount.” Remember that now? Is that coming to you?

Francis Ford Coppola: No

Al Pacino: No? (laughter) Well maybe you’ll dream about it again tonight or something. But there I was  looking at…

Francis Ford Coppola: To show you the stuff

Al Pacino: Yeah, you showed me the stuff and that was amazing. You said, take a look at what you’re doing.  And I looked at it in this room by myself, sitting there thinking, well, that isn’t very good, it seems ok, it doesn’t even seem ok but it doesn’t matter because my mind was always thinking that Michael was something… you know I was going for the end of the movie       which makes him somewhat enigmatic and early on he is like someone you don’t pay attention to much. So when the transition comes, when finally, he becomes the Don, you go, Woah, were did that come from?  That was my hope, and I tried to orchestrate my role that way. I sort of knew that I was doing it but I was really on the wrong track.  So I went to him and said, “I see what you mean.” Because I didn’t know what else to say to him (laughter) because he was convinced of it.  And then he did what is the most brilliant thing anybody could do.  He actually changed the schedule.  He took the Sollozzo scene where Michael shoots Sollozzo and the Captain and he put it up front.  It wasn’t scheduled for that day.  Because the studio was done with me, I was gone.  He showed them the Sollozzo scene and they kept me.  (applause) Did I miss something there?

Francis Ford Coppola: Its true, that scene, the Sollozzo scene was very early in the schedule. I know the first day was you and Diane at Best & Co. And maybe the second week we shot that scene. That scene, even Paramount realized how…

Al Pacino: That I could play Michael

Francis Ford Coppola: For sure.

 

Taylor Hackford: YOU KNOW, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT IT’S LIKE FROM A STUDIO POINT OF VIEW.  THESE PEOPLE HAVE DAILIES AND THEY PROJECT DAILIES AND THE HEAD OF THE STUDIOS THERE ARE LITERALLY TAKING PHONE CALLS FROM AGENTS.  HERE YOU ARE, YOUR WORK IS UP ON THE SCREEN AND THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING AND EVALUATING BUT THEY TAKE CALLS.  THIS IS THE PROCESS AND IT STILL GOES ON TODAY.

Al Pacino: You know what. I almost didn’t understand that because we all know that everything is the cut. It’s how a scene is cut together. I won’t look at rushes anymore because you see this close-up that goes on forever. But it’s how the editor cuts the film with the director.

 

Taylor Hackford: I KNOW, BUT THAT’S THE PROCESS AL. WHAT I’M TRYING TO SAY IS THESE PEOPLE AREN’T FILMMAKERS 

Al Pacino: Yeah, I know

 

Taylor Hackford: FRANCIS IS OUT ON THE FIELD SAYING THAT HE HAD TO FIGHT FOR AL TO BEGIN WITH. AND THEN THEY’RE TELLING HIM ONE; FRANCIS IF YOU KEEP THIS UP YOU’RE FIRED.

Francis Ford Coppola: Well what I was told was that on the third week when we shot Brando.  His first scene was in the olive oil company with Sollozzo. And they hated Brando in it. They thought he mumbled and they hated the film look.  The photographer liked very dark footage, to say the least. So we are down there in Little Italy across the street from where we were shooting the scene, and Gray Frederickson came to me on a Tuesday and said, “you know, they are going to fire you this weekend.”  And I realized, of course they fire the director on the weekend so that the new director doesn’t lose any time preparing.  And I realized that there was a group around, I dunno, twelve people who were the naysayers.  They were the ones were actively trying to get me fired. So on that Tuesday, I fired those twelve people. (laughter) Because I had said, “if you don’t like Brando, let me go and I’ll shoot it again.” Because it was his first day. And they said no. I was very puzzled and wondered why they wouldn’t because it was so easy to just jump up and I could’ve done it within a half of day.  Then that’s when he told me they were going to fire me.  Then I fired the people and I went up and we shot that scene again.   I’m sure there were lots of phones calls asking if I could do that. Even I didn’t know if I had the authority to do it. But I just figured, I’m the director.  At least throw them into confusion (laughter) And then they decided that weekend that it would probably be bad publicity to fire me.  So Bluhdorn took me and my father out to, The Palm” steakhouse and said that they saw the new footage with Brando and that it was much better. And sort of gave me a real confidence that they weren’t firing me.  Ironically, in the movie, that’s the first shooting.  The scene in the picture wasn’t the second one shot. It’s the first time, the one they didn’t like.

 

Taylor Hackford: THE THING IS THAT I THINK IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE, BECAUSE THIS IS MONUMENTAL. BUT FRANCIS WAS A YOUNG FILMMAKER GOING THROUGH THE PROCESS, AND HE HAD TO GET ALL THESE PEOPLE HERE ON STAGE AND MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN WITH HIS CREW.  MEANTIME, HE IS THINKING’ I’M OUTTA HERE THIS WEEKEND.  IT’S CRAZY WHEN YOU’RE DOING IT.

Francis Ford Coppola: Well understandable.  When you are doing something and you get lucky, which obviously, I did with such a collection of talent. If it’s different, if it rubs people, at first, the wrong way or if it’s not like something that was before that was successful. You know, everyone is scared and so it’s logical to think you ought to get another director.  “The Godfather” is very dark. Darker than most movies were. And Brando did mumble a little bit. That’s his style. And he does it deliberately. He told me that when he does his lines he tries not to move his mouth very much so that it’s easy to loop any lines that you want in there.  (laughter)

Al Pacino: He believed in dubbing, really, that was one of his major things after the film was over in post-production. He taught me that and I found that its very helpful in film, if you can lip-sync.  I didn’t know about the mouth not moving much. I’ll try that next time. (laughter)

 

Taylor Hackford: ONE OF THE THINGS WE SHOULD DO BEFORE WE FINISH…

(audience starts shouting “Baptisim”)

 

Taylor Hackford: DON’T WORRY WE’RE GOING TO BE HERE, BUT LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT THING. AND THAT IS THIS IS REVOLUTIONARY.  THE REASON THIS FILM COULD MADE BY ONLY AN ITALIAN IS THAT IT IS AN ITALIAN MOVIE. AND FRANCIS HAD THE REVOLUTIONARY CONCEPT OF MAKING A FILM AND CASTING ITALIAN ACTORS. IF YOU LOOK AT, “THE BROTHERHOOD.” IF YOU LOOK AT THE OTHER MOVIES… OH, WELL JIMMY IS NOT ITALIAN.

Francis Ford Coppola: But he is, he is honorary Italian

 

Taylor Hackford: BUT THE FACT IS THAT A LOT OF THE ACTORS IN THIS MOVE ARE ITALIAN AND IN HOLLYWOOD, THEY DIDN’T DO THAT. AND I THINK THAT THIS FILM REEKS OF AUTHENTICITY AND CULTURAL IDENTITY. THAT ACTUALLY FITS THE SUBJECT. AND YOU ACTUALLY TOOK THIS PIECE AND MADE IT ABOUT AMERICAN AND MADE IT ABOUT IMMIGRANTS IN AMERCIA.

James Caan: But again, he was not a Brooklyn Italian. He was a Mediterranean Italian.

Francis Ford Coppola: Who?

James Caan: You

Francis Ford Coppola: I’m a Long Island Italian

James Caan: No, no. (laughter) But I mean, everything was about music and art and it was ok. I’d kill somebody because of my sister or eighty guys died.  The only question that I used to get asked was if that was a real horse.  Nobody cared that eighty-one people got killed. (laughter) but was the horse real?  The horse was real. But you know what I mean, everything was ok for the sake of family.

 

Taylor Hackford: GORDON WILLIS, WHOM YOU SELECTED (APPLAUSE) THIS FILM HAS SOME OF THE DARKEST PHOTOGRAPHY EVER IN IT. YOU HAD NOT WORKED WITH HIM BEFORE. WHAT DREW YOU TO WANT TO WORK WITH HIM?

Francis Ford Coppola: Well the first movie I made was edited by a gentleman named Aram Avakian.  And Aram Avakian had directed a film, “End of the Road” and Gordon Willis was the cinematographer.  So I had heard about him and admired him through that connection.

 

Taylor Hackford: WELL IT WAS A REVOLUTIONARY LOOK.

Francis Ford Coppola: Well Gordy Willis is one of the all-time greats in cinematography. (applause)

 

Taylor Hackford: SINCE WE HAD A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE BAPTISM

Francis Ford Coppola: What about the baptism do you want to know?

 

Taylor Hackford: WELL FIRST OF ALL LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MUSIC. THE INNER-CUTTING.

Francis Ford Coppola: What had happened with the baptism.  A screenwriter is constantly trying to figure out how to get into one sitting, a two hour and ten-minute movie, from a novel. Which of course you read over time. You are constantly looking for ways to condense and smoosh stuff from the novel into the script. So my idea was to take what was forty pages of the novel and through the device of the baptism ceremony kind of wrap it all for the end of the picture.  So at first it was a screenwriting device on how to get a lot of pages in the novel expressed in a short time.  And let the event of the baptism, let all the murders, and the wiping out the families that rotated around that.   In the first cut it wasn’t really working.  We had two editors. One of them who was working on the second half of the film, named Peter Zinner, had the idea to put in that organ.  Once he put that in it just gelled and the baptism really worked.  (applause)

 

Taylor Hackford: THE MAN TO MY RIGHT HAS BEEN VERY QUIET TONIGHT.  (applause) WE’VE ALL BEEN TALKING ABOUT, “THE GODFATHER”.  IT’S AN AMAZING PRESSURE TO COME IN AT A CERTAIN POINT.  YOU COME IN ON, THE GODFATHER II” AND MARLON BRANDO HAS WON AN ACADEMY AWARD FOR THE ROLE YOU ARE PLAYING. HOW WAS THAT PROCESS AND WHAT WAS YOUR FEELING ABOUT CONFECTING THIS ROLE?

Robert De Niro: I was honored that Francis asked me to do the part. I remember that Gray Frederickson and I went up to Paramount when it was at Columbus circle and up to the screening room on the thirty-something floor.  I took a tape recorder, the old reel-to-reel, and filmed the scenes Brando was in. And I played them over and over again to myself as I was working on it. But I looked at it in a kind of a scientific way and I had to sort of find spots where I could do stuff to imitate what he’s doing. And I enjoyed it.

Francis Ford Coppola: May I just offer that in my idea to get someone to play Brando as a young man was daunting. But I didn’t think of it as Brando. But I thought he could play Vito Corleone the character in the way Brando created him. He could be the younger Vito Corleone without ever going through Brando.  Bobby’s not a Brando look-a-like necessarily. But he could capture what Vito Corleone would have been as a young man. Which he did. (applause)

 

Taylor Hackford: HE ABSOLUTELY DID. I THINK TO THE POINT THAT THIS IS THE ONLY TIME IN HISTORY THE TWO ACTORS HAVE WON THE ACADEMY AWARD PLAYING THE SAME ROLE IN TWO DIFFERENT FILMS. I’M GETTING THE HOOK HERE.

Francis Ford Coppola: Could the audience ask four or five questions? (cheers)

 

Taylor Hackford: IF YOU’VE GOT A NICE STRONG VOICE SHOUT THINGS UP.

 

Audience member: DURING THE SCREENING TONIGHT, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHILE WATCHING IT? SAME QUESTION TO ALL OF YOU. WHAT DO YOU SEE WHEN YOU SEE IT AGAIN AND ON AN OCCASION LIKE THIS?

Francis Ford Coppola: I haven’t seen these movies for years.  I tend not to see the movies I worked on. I know I hadn’t seen, “Godfather II” for a really long time.  I saw, “The Godfather” because we had to do the restoration because the print was not in good shape.  I thought it was a very emotional experience.  I had forgot a lot about the making of it and so I was more in the story.  I used a lot of family, it had my sister in it and things in the script that I had deliberately put there. So I found it a very emotional experience for myself.

 

Taylor Hackford: DIANE TOLD ME THAT SHE HAD RECENTLY SEEN THE FILM.

Diane Keaton: Yeah, I saw it on my computer. I hadn’t seen it in about thirty years, or something like that. All I could think of was that I couldn’t get over it. It was so astonishing. Francis, it was so beautiful and everybody is so great in it. And the music. Every choice you made was so authentically brilliant. (applause) That is so unusual. I just kept crying. And that damn Talia. I saw her in that scene where they were fighting and screaming and then you had slow, long scenes where it was just the guys and then suddenly there was this vicious thing that would happen. I was just blown out of the ballpark, crying over Talia.  Everything was astonishing to me. And I was totally surprised because I didn’t expect it, ok. And on a fucking computer. (laughter) That’s where I am, I am on the computer and I’m so emotional about it.  I was so shocked because I never really paid much attention to, “The Godfather” because I always felt that I was the most outsider, weird person. And why was I cast? And I had no voice but then there were a couple good scenes with Al.

Francis Ford Coppola: You know the scene where you tell Al that it wasn’t a miscarriage, that it was an abortion?

Diane Keaton: Oh, I’ll never forget that

Francis Ford Coppola: That was Tali’s idea

Diane Keaton: Talia?!  All right girl!

 

Audience member:  WATCHING THE STRUCTURE OF, “THE GODFATHER II” IT WAS EXTREMELY REVOLUTIONARY TIME SHIFTING STRUCTURE. IT GOES BACK AND FORTH WAS THAT (inaudible)

Francis Ford Coppola: Interesting thing about that. That was the concept of the script. To tell the story of a father and a son at the same time in parallel action at the same age. Interestingly though is when we first cut it together it would alternate every ten minutes, more or less. And we found that it didn’t work at all. And when we doubled it and made it twenty minutes of one and twenty minutes of the other. Then it started to work. But it was written with the back-and-forth kind of shorter duration.

 

Audience member:  THE SCENES OF THE MURDERS ALWAYS GO ALONG WITH THE CHURCH AND RELIGION. (inaudible)

Francis Ford Coppola: the question is the violence is sort of being expressed through the imagery of religion and precession.  I don’t know.  It’s like Opera is kind of the tradition, in my mind, a sort of odd pageantry to violence.  Certainly, we know in historically in the seventeenth century with the church there was all kinds of incredible violence in the struggle between different… so I don’t know.  In my mind there was a certain violent pageantry that was linked together.

 

Taylor Hackford:  YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT THE MUSIC IN THIS PIECE AND VERY SELDOM DO YOU HAVE A SCORE THAT IS SO DEFINITIVE. NINO ROTA DID THIS (applause) HAD YOU SEEN, “LA STRADA” WHEN YOU DID THIS?

Francis Ford Coppola:  I Knew Nino Rota’s music very well but the score that really sealed it for me was, “Rocco and His Brothers.”  It has this beautiful, deep, heartbreaking, tragic family story. Nino Rota wrote that as well as the Fellini scores.  But that was what cinched it for me.

 

Audience member:  Could his film be made today with the way Hollywood is?

Francis Ford Coppola: This film could be made today but it wouldn’t get a go ahead.  The first Godfather cost six and a half million dollars.  The second Godfather cost eleven or twelve million dollars.  Which if you convert that it would take a major movie studio.  But the process today to getting a green light.  Nothing can get green lit unless it a Marvel comics type of a …’

James Caan: And basically there are not enough wires.  WIRES (laughter)

Francis Ford Coppola: You know once, Kirk Kerkorian, who owned MGM asked me, “How do you make a film that his successful but also artistically.” I answered, risk.  Nobody wants the risk when you get into business.

 

Audience member: (inaudible)

Francis Ford Coppola: Jokes? Oh Brando and Bobby were constantly making jokes and having fun.

Robert Duvall: During the wedding scene. We all were mooning each other and Brando took it quite seriously. (laughter) In fact he gave out a world championship belt. So he went for is belt and I went for my belt and Coppola said, “there are women and children here, you can’t do that.” But we did it. (laughter) and we mooned some woman turned to me and said, “Mr. Duvall, you’re fine.” Then she turned to her friend and said, “But did you catch the ball on Brando?” (laughter) true story.

James Caan: I remember when Brando came home from the hospital.  Me and Bobby are supposed to carry him up on a stretcher.  So he grabs on end, I grab the other end.  When I lifted it, my testicles hit my ankles (laughter) but I wasn’t going to quit. And all of the sudden he was laughing.  He had put five hundred pounds of weight under the mattress.

 

Taylor Hackford: FRANCIS DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SCENE?

Francis Ford Coppola: No, no. There are so many wonderful scenes and the cast is so beautiful.  I feel that an unsung hero in this was the villain.  A good villain is someone you take seriously, and I think Virgal Sollozzo played by Al Lettieri was dangerous. That made the whole story work better.

 

Taylor Hackford: IN THE SCENE WHERE TOM HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED. IT’S JUST A BRILLIANT JOB OF DOING A SCENE WITH CLOSE-UPS. IT’S VERY DARK AND SOLLOZZO IS TRYING TO CONVINCE TOM. BUT IN THAT MOMENT, WE KNOW THAT HE HAS ALREADY HIT THE DON, AND WE ALSO KNOW THAT LUCA BRASI IS DEAD.  AND TOM SAYS WELL YOU CAN DO THIS AND YOU CAN TALK TO THIS BUT YOU WILL NEVER STOP LUCA BRASI.  AND THERE IS THIS CLOSE-UP OF SOLLLOZZO’S FACE WHERE YOU CAN JUST SEE IT.  IT’S NOT LIKE HE’S LEERING BUT HE SAYS, “LET ME WORRY ABOUT LUCA.”  IT’S THE MOST FANTASTIC MOMENT.

Francis Ford Coppola: What’s really, for me, beautiful about that scene was that when Bobby gets the news that they’ve killed him. He plays it not like the lawyer. He plays it like the son and you can see he is crying because his father has been killed.

 

 

Taylor Hackford: AND THERE IS THE INCREDIBLE SCENE WHERE TOM HAGEN HAS TO TELL VITO THAT SONNY IS DEAD.  AND IN THAT SCENE, THERE IS ANOTHER MOMENT WHEN IS SO WANTING TO… AND AT THE END OF THE SCENE BRANDO GOES OVER AND LETS HIM HUG HIM.  THERE IS SO MUCH EMOTION.

Francis Ford Coppola: Their a family. That’s what it really comes down to. That’s what it is really all about.

 

-end-