How to shoot The Godfather and not die trying

In the movie The Godfather (1972) the protagonist, Michael Corleone, says that “to be successful you must keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”.

This phrase does not seem to be there by chance, but was the mantra that followed Francis Ford Coppoladirector of this classic, together with the producers, to be able to carry out this project and not literally die trying.

There is even a legend that assures that Robert Evans, head of the studio that in 1970 wanted to turn Mario Puzo’s mafia bestseller into a film, found a dead rat in his bed, as a sign of the threat that the mafia of that time made him, denied to make a film about their practices.

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“Whoever put it (the animal) there clearly didn’t want to see The Godfather on screen,” explains Miles Teller, who brings to life Albert S Ruddyone of the producers of this project.

Teller, in the company of Juno Temple, are the head of the new Paramount + miniseries, entitled The offer, which shows the difficult path experienced by the team that fought for this story, based on that of Mario Puzo, to reach the cinema.

“The mafia didn’t want the movie to be made, that’s why (the series) is called ‘The Offer’, because it’s about how they had to negotiate with these groups and get it done now, with the authorization of the criminals: What were the agreements so that these families could be talked about in such depth?”, tells Teller.

The actor, who rose to fame for the film Whiplash, stated that The offer shows details recently revealed about this award-winning film. Oscar.

“It required overcoming a constant escalation of risks and bets. The mob, led by the dangerous Joe Colombo (Giovanni Ribisi), turned out to be a very real threat. Ironically, the New York City crime boss considered Puzo a traitor for the description of ‘good guys’ in Italians in his novel, ”says the actor.

The miniseries is based, for the most part, on the memories and anecdotes of the real Albert S. Ruddy, who with The Godfather sought to establish himself as a serious producer in Hollywood.

“This was a moment for Al to really define himself as a bona fide film producer and he wasn’t going to let anything stop him, including the heavy hand of the mob,” Teller stresses.

In the first episode of The offer, which premieres on April 28, the anecdote of the dead rat is shown, which would later inspire one of the scenes of The Godfather (that of a murdered horse), but also one of the first warnings Ruddy and Ford Coppola received not to do it.

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Beyond recreating Coppola’s film, the series goes behind the scenes, seeing a Mario Puzo (Patrick Gallo) and a naive and committed rookie Coppola (Dan Fogler).

“Those who think they’ll see classic movie moments in the series will be disappointed,” warns Teller.

“You will see Coppola’s insistence that Marlon Brando (Justin Chambers) to be Michael and then little-known Al Pacino (Anthony Ippolito) to play Vito.”

The film led its creators to face threats, which led them, for example, to focus on family history and not mention the word “mafia”: “The Godfather could never have been made without Evans, Ruddy and Coppola risking their lives and reputation,” says Teller.


The series will have 10 episodes. The first three premiere April 28 on Paramount+.

Miles Teller
“The mafia did not want the film to be made, (the series) is about how they had to negotiate with these groups, with criminals”

The Godfather grossed $133 MILLION globally. It was made with only 6 million dollars.


The movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola and produced by Albert S. Ruddy is considered one of the most influential in history.

Collection. The film, released on March 15, 1972, earned $30 million in its opening weekend alone.

Origin. The film is based on the novel by Mario Puzo.

Award winning. It won three Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor (Marlon Brando) Best Adapted Screenplay; in addition to five Golden Globes and a BAFTA award, among others.