'The Offer' Episode 5: How did Al Pacino become part of 'The Godfather'?
Episode 5 of 'The Offer' reveals how Al Pacino was cast to play Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather'
Paramount+'s limited series 'The Offer' throws light on what went on behind the scenes during the production of one of the greatest movies of all time, 'The Godfather'. Told from the perspective of Academy-Award-winning producer Al Ruddy (Miles Teller), who also serves as the show’s executive producer, the series chronicles the film’s turbulent production.
Based on Mario Puzo's classic novel, 'The Godfather' told the story of the Corleones, a Mafia family in 1940s New York City. The film starred Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone, Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, and James Caan as Sonny, among others. ‘The Offer’ reveals that the iconic film's production was anything but smooth, especially when it came to casting. Director Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler) insisted on casting Italian-Americans in as many roles as possible. However, he came to loggerheads with the studio over the casting for the roles of Vito Corleone and his youngest son Michael. In episode 4, we see how Robert Evans (Matthew Goode) was finally convinced to cast Marlon Brando (Justin Chambers) as Vito. However, he was still vehemently against casting Al Pacino in the movie. So how did producer Al Ruddy convince him? Scroll down to find out.
Prior to 'The Godfather,' Pacino (Anthony Ippolito) was an unknown stage actor with only one major film role to his credit - 'The Panic in Needle Park.' Despite his inexperience, Coppola wanted him to play Michael because every time he closed his eyes and saw the Sicily scenes in his head, he saw Pacino's face.
On the other hand, studio executive Robert Evans thought that Pacino was too short and inexperienced. The executive instead wanted to cast Ryan O’Neal, the Irish-American star of 'Love Story'.
Coppola continued to push for Pacino and was not willing to accept anybody else. Producer Al Ruddy eventually went behind Robert Evans’ back and pleaded with Charlie Bluhdorn directly to take Al Pacino for the role. This left Bob furious, but there was no way he could have reversed something Bluhdorn had okayed. However, there was one big problem.
Al Pacino had a scheduling conflict. He had already signed to appear in the MGM film 'The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight.' In Episode 5, ‘Kiss the Ring’, we see Ruddy trying to convince Bob Evans to get Pacino because he knew that only Evans could strike a deal with MGM and make it happen. Even though he was against casting Pacino, Evans is finally persuaded to watch 'The Panic in Needle Park.' Pacino’s mesmerizing performance convinces him that, after all, the actor was his best bet.
Later in the episode, we see Evans scheduling a meeting with James T. Aubrey from MGM. Paramount owned the copyright to many of best-selling author Harold Robbins' manuscripts. James wanted the copyright of his choice in exchange for Pacino. They negotiate the deal and finally, Robert Evans brings Al Pacino on board to play Michael Corleone in 'The Godfather'.
The new episode of 'The Offer' is available on Paramount+.