GODFATHER STORIES. Mark Seal had an excellent article in Vanity Fair on the making of the GODFATHER movies which includes interesting anecdotes about the casting choices. Robert Redford, Martin Sheen, Ryan O’Neal, David Carradine, Jack Nicholson, and Warren Beatty were all considered for the part of Michael Corleone. One surprising thing is what an extensive role the Mafia wound up having in the GODFATHER movies, including influencing the casting. Seal refers to “the strange camaraderie that grew between the moviemakers and the Mob.” The actor who played Luca Brasi had been a bodyguard for a young Mafia figure. The scene with Luca Brasi’s “classic, stammering homage to the Don (‘And I hope that their first child be a masculine child’) is actually the result of the wrestler’s blowing his lines, in a way no trained actor could ever have accomplished.” The movie was not expected to be a box office success. “’I had been so conditioned to think the film was bad—too dark, too long, too boring—that I didn’t think it would have any success,’ says Francis Ford Coppola.” Shortly after the movie came out, Mary Jane and I ran into a young actor she knew who had been offered parts in both THE GODFATHER and THE GANG THAT COULDN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT, which was being made at the same time. He said he had chosen THE GANG THAT COULDN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT because everybody in Hollywood knew that it would be a success and THE GODFATHER would fail. He said that people in Hollywood were explaining what happened by saying that Coppola had saved the movie in the cutting room. Nobody knows.

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