The Godfather cast and director reunited yesterday (April 29) to talk of the film’s influence and legacy.
Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the reunion took place at Radio City Music Hall, as part of Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Festival.
Director Francis Ford Coppola was joined by Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Talia Shire and James Caan, as well as Robert De Niro himself, who appeared in the 1974 sequel.
The event lasted nine hours, with screenings of The Godfather I and II as well as panels addressing the difficulty in making films of that calibre in the 1970s.
The panel shared some behind-the-scenes anecdotes, with Coppola revealing that Al Pacino auditioned for the role of Michael Corleone six times. Coppola said that Pacino’s girlfriend called him, telling him he was torturing Pacino.
According to the Guardian, the decision to cast Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone was also not an easy option; executives felt he would not be ‘commercially beneficial’.
It was later revealed that Coppola was only allowed to cast Brando if the actor would do a screen test for free and put up a $1million bond to ensure he wouldn’t cause trouble on set.
The filming process was also difficult, according to Pacino, who at one point in production cited The Godfather as ‘the worst film ever made’.
Coppola also commented on today’s film industry, saying that The Godfather wouldn’t ‘get a go-ahead’. “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,” he said.
“Nothing can get a green light unless it’s a movie that they can have a whole series of, or a Marvel comic.”