The True Story Behind The Offer
Dan Fogler has been preparing to play Francis Ford Coppola for most of his life and he didn’t even realize it. Fogler plays the role of the legendary director in Paramount+’s new limited series Get the Deal premiering April 28, which tells the chaotic true story behind the making of Coppola’s 1972 masterpiece The Godfather. Fogler saw the film for the first time as a freshman at high school. “I went to Blockbuster and I got myself Parts I II and I watched them straight,” he tells TIME. “I was like, ‘My god, all of my favorite actors are in this.’” He became so enamored with Coppola that he watched his entire filmography, including the 1991 documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse,It gave us an incredible behind-the-scenes view of how things work Apocalypse NowIt was done. “Watching [Coppola] in that documentary was such a huge master class in learning to play this character,” he says. “You really see him as the ringleader in the middle of this circus.”
Fogler also brought some of that P.T. To Barnum energy Get the Deal A series of illustrations inspired by Godfather producer Albert S. Ruddy’s recollections of making the iconic film, which included numerous near-firings, bitter casting disagreements, and run-ins with the mob. (It should be noted that not everyone agrees with Ruddy’s version of events.) Fogler wanted to offer a “glimpse into Francis’ soul” through his performance in the 10-episode docudrama. “In his heart, Francis is still in a black box theater somewhere trying to pull a performance out of a wacky actor,” Fogler said when describing who Coppola, then a Hollywood newcomer, was at the time of shooting The Godfather. “Francis also reminds me of my dad and kind of talks like him. That connection helped me humanize this guy who is such an icon.”
Fogler didn’t get a chance to speak with the 83-year-old Coppola before taking the role. But, after making Get the Deal he has a new appreciation for the 50-year-old film and its director—and he believes others will, too, especially once they realize one of the most iconic films of all time didn’t get made.
Learn more below about the real story. This is the Offer.
The mob protested against the creation of The Godfather?
Get the Deal the mafia is insulted by the portrayal of Italian Americans in Mario Puzo’s novel. Mob boss Joe Colombo, Giovanni Ribisi, founded the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League to protest against the film. The real Colombo, who was the head of one of the “Five Families” in New York City, did protest against the denigration of Italian Americans. With help from the League’s supporters, he convinced the F.B.I. to stop using the terms “Mafia” and “Cosa Nostra” in press releases. Colombo also set his sights to close down the press releases using those words. The Godfather, This is what the original name was The Mafia. He reportedly had people follow the film’s producer Al Ruddy (played by Miles Teller in This is the OfferYou can also send threats to others by calling Robert Evans (Matthew Goode) and making harassing calls.
Ruddy ended up meeting with Colombo in 1971 and agreed to delete the words “Mafia” and “Cosa Nostra” from the film. He also promised the League that they would have a chance to review the script and “change anything it felt was damaging to the Italian-American image,” according to the New York Times. Lastly, Ruddy agreed to turn over the proceeds of the film’s New York premiere to the League’s hospital fund. Colombo was a friend of Ruddy. He helped ease tensions between Ruddy’s film and New York’s Italian American community. (Ruddy and Colombo’s burgeoning friendship led to Ruddy briefly losing his job.) Later, it was revealed that Colombo had been made happy by members of the League as well as the mob.
Giovanni Ribisi plays Joe Colombo on The Offer
Did Frank Sinatra almost beat up Mario Puzo over The Godfather?
There’s a moment in the first episode of This is the Offer Mario Puzo (Patrick Gallo), spots Frank Sinatra, (Frank John Hughes), at a Hollywood restaurant. He decides to express his gratitude to him. Frank realizes quickly that the fanboy is not Frank Sinatra, but the author. The Godfather These things happen quickly. In real life, Sinatra reportedly believed that the book’s drunken, philandering lounge singer Johnny Fontaine was based on him. Puzo long denied that Fontaine was anything but a fictional character, but the portrayal rubbed Ol’ Blue Eyes the wrong way. 2009. Vanity Fair feature, Al Ruddy recalled Sinatra threatening Puzo one night in 1970 at the well-known L.A. eatery Chasen’s. Funny fact: The anecdote that inspired this article is in actuality what inspired This is the Offer Michael Tolkin will create the series.
Ruddy said Sinatra was sueing the movie, and encouraged Puzo to not go over and have a chat with him. But someone steered Puzo over to Sinatra’s table where the crooner, according to Ruddy, started screaming at the author, “I ought to break your legs” and “Did the F.B.I. help you with your book?” In Puzo’s 1972 essay “The Making of The Godfather,” he alleged that Sinatra called him a pimp and threatened “to beat the hell out of me.” But what upset Puzo most was “a Northern Italian, threatening me, a Southern Italian, with physical violence,” he wrote, calling it “roughly equivalent to Einstein pulling a knife on Al Capone.”
Surprisingly, Sinatra didn’t seem to have any beef with Coppola, who told USA TodayHe met the singer in March before he began shooting. The Godfather began. “He sort of jokingly said, ‘Why don’t we buy this [movie] from Paramount and I’ll play the godfather,’” Coppola said. “That’s what I recall.”
Robert Evans did not wish to hire Al Pacino. The Godfather Because of his height
Through Get the Deal Paramount Studio head Robert Evans argues that Francis Ford Coppola can’t cast Al Pacino (Anthony Ippolito) as the lead in The Godfather because he’s too short. Evans really did think that Pacino’s height was a problem. “A runt will not play Michael,” Evans reportedly told Coppola, according to Vanity Fair.Pacino does not harbor any bitter feelings toward the legend producer. “That’s sorta true,” he said during The Godfather Tribeca Film Festival 2017: Reunion
However, Coppola told Deadline in 2020 that the real reason the studio didn’t think Pacino was right for the role of Michael was not his height, but his overall look. “Well, they first wanted Ryan O’Neal. Then, [Robert] Redford. I said, ‘The guy ought to really look Sicilian.’ They said, ‘Sicilians are blonde and blue-eyed because they were occupied by the French for many years. So there could be a blonde, blue-eyed Sicilian,’” Coppola explained. Still, he fought for Pacino in the role because “when I read the book I just pictured him,” the director said. “When you do that it’s very hard to get that out of your mind. That’s why I was so persistent.”
Miles Teller and Juno Temple are featured in The Offer.
Did Mario Puzo send Marlon Brando a letter asking him to star in The Godfather?
Get the Deal Mario Puzo sends Marlon Brando (played by Grey’s Anatomy’s Justin Chambers) a letter asking him if he’d be interested in playing Don Corleone. Mario assumes it’s a longshot that Marlon will even get the note, but it ends up being the key to landing the iconic actor for the part. In 1970, Puzo actually wrote Brando a note. “I wrote a book called Godfather” Puzo wrote. “I think you’re the only actor who can play the part with that quiet force and irony (the book is an ironical comment on American society) the part requires.” That letter was sold, along with other Brando paraphernalia, at Christie’s in 2005.
Brando found the note intriguing, however, the studio was worried that Brando, a 47-year old actor who was then thought to be washed up, could pose a financial risk. Brando could only be hired by the studio if he agreed to pay no upfront money and put up a security deposit for any problems with his budget. Coppola also had to do a secret screen-test with Brando. In 2020, Coppola described the experience of going to Brando’s house and watching him create Vito Corleone on a whim to Deadline: “He rolls up his hair, takes some shoe polish and makes his [blonde] hair dark. He says, ‘The character gets shot in the throat so maybe he talks like this’… He puts some Kleenex in his mouth. Then he did the whole thing himself, then he took out the small cheese chunks and nibbled them. I’m sitting there, astonished, and then the phone rings. The phone rings and he begins to talk like the character. I’m like, ‘What the hell? What was their thought? What did they think?’” Brando’s performance earned him his second Academy Award, which ended up being one of the most memorable Oscar speeches of all time.
Francis Ford Coppola was almost fired The Godfather?
Francis Ford Coppola always seems like he’s on the brink of losing his mind or his job in Get the Deal The reality of the situation wasn’t all that different. “I was seriously on the verge of getting fired maybe on three or four occasions,” Coppola told Deadline in 2020. “Had I not won the Oscar for Patton [in 1970]I’d have loved to be fired. The Godfather.” He claimed that he was often at odds with Paramount over casting and shooting on location in New York. “They wanted to make it in St. Louis,” he said. “And set it in the ’70s.”
Coppola kept his job and told NPR 2021 that Coppola had to quit. The Godfather was “just the most frightening and depressing experience I think I’ve ever had.” Pacino told the New York Times in March that he once saw Coppola “profusely crying” on set. “And I went up to him and I said, ‘Francis, what’s wrong? What happened?’ He says, ‘They won’t give me another shot.’ Meaning, they wouldn’t allow him to film another setup,” Pacino said. “And I thought: OK. I guess I’m in a good film here. Because he had this kind of passion and there it is.”
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