HBO Movie to Tell the Heretofore Unknown Story of the Making of ‘The Godfather’


MOVIE TRIVIA TIME: Did you know that The Godfather did not fall out of the sky as a perfectly formed completed motion picture? Furthermore, did you know that not only did it have to be produced for a major movie studio, but said production was in fact quite contentious and difficult? It’s true!

In fact, the woes of The Godfather’s making – young maverick director Francis Ford Coppola’s battles with the Paramount brass over his wishes to cast a group of unknowns (including Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan, and Diane Keaton) and known troublemaker Marlon Brando, his fight to keep the penny-pinchers from modernizing the period tale, his tension with the New York mob bosses who inspired it and the Italian-American groups who objected to it, a whisper campaign to replace the director mid-production – have been pretty well-documented! I can glance to my right and find no less than four different books on its making on my shelves (Peter Biskind’s The Godfather Companion, Jenny Jones’s The Annotated Godfather, Steve Schapiro’s The Godfather Family Album, and Coppola’s own recent The Godfather Notebook); there’s also an excellent full-length documentary called The Godfather Family: A Look Inside (you can watch that right here), in addition to Coppola’s detailed audio commentary tracks on the movies. Also, he basically tells these stories in every interview he gives these days.

Nonetheless! HBO Films has announced development of Francis & The Godfather, a scripted narrative movie about that production. The screenplay is by Andrew Farotte, whose credits of note thus far include, um, producing Big Brother and Teen Wolf? Anyway, Francis & The Godfather was on the 2015 Black List, the annual round-up of the year’s most-liked unproduced screenplays; in fact, and this is sort of hilarious, it was one of two screenplays about the making of The Godfather on that year’s list. (The other was titled I Believe in America, and this is how we end up with simultaneous animated bug and meteor-crashing-into-the-earth movies.)

So maybe it’ll be great! And here in forty or so years, we’ll have a TV movie about the making of Francis & The Godfather. Stranger things, etc.