November 21, 2014 5:44:58 pm
Francis Ford Coppola wanted to make only one ‘Godfather’, his sweeping 1972 crime classic about an Italian don and his family, but eventually directed a third part to get over some financial trouble.
According to Coppola, 75, he envisioned ‘The Godfather’, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino as father-son, as the story of Michael Corleone who reluctantly inherits the family business. The director dubbed the success of ‘Godfather’ “an accident” that changed things for him. He said the film was a metaphor” for America.
“I never thought there should be more than one Godfather. When they first came with the idea, I thought it was a tragic story about this man growing up and becoming a part of the family business. He tries to protect his family but ends up slaughtering them. Michael is a tragic figure for me,” Coppola said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2014 here today.
“People at Paramount went crazy about how successful it was. They told me ‘if you have the formula for Coca-Cola, won’t you make more Coca-Cola?’ I really did not want to make the second film but then I thought it would be interesting to tell the story of father and son at the same age.”
Coppola said he revisited the story again after getting in a “terrible financial predicament” but the director has no regret. “When you are old, there is nothing worse than thinking I wish I had done this. So, I did absolutely everything,” he added.
Coppola said he did not even want to call the 1990 film, which got seven Oscars nominations despite mixed reviews, as ‘Godfather’. “I wanted to call it ‘The Death of Michael Corleone. It was the story of redemption and I dealt with the idea of his soul. I think people went expecting something similar to the earlier two but they got something else,” said Coppola while reflecting on his most famous trilogy.
The director felt the critics slammed the third part probably because his filmmaker daughter Sofia played Mary Corleone. “I think the critics wanted to punish me the same way Michael gets punished,” he quipped.
The gangster drama has an indelible shadow on all the other crime movies and Coppola was surprised to know that India had its own versions of ‘Godfather’. “I did not think there was. With songs?,” he joked.
The director said he never set out to make a big film but the success of ‘Godfather’ changed everything for me. “I never intended to be an important Hollywood director. I wanted to make small, personal films. I did not care about big films but ‘Godfather’ was an accident,” he added.
Coppola said coming from a family that made Broadway musicals, he does not mind the song and dance routine in Bollywood movies. The director said cinema is going through a great change and in three years things would be drastically different.
“All cinema is after all a fusion of technology and art form. When technology changes, art changes too. There will no longer be any distinction between cinema and TV, going forward. Today, all theatres are electronic, no film cans get delivered now. Very soon it will be done with satellite. The audience will be the master of the situation; there won’t be any Paramount, MGM any more. It will be Netflix, Facebook, in the future.”
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