The stars of Godfather show The Offer reveal their favorite scenes from Coppola's mob masterpiece
Paramount+ show The Offer invites viewers to leave the gun, take the cannoli, and learn the incident-packed behind-the-scenes story of how The Godfather got made. The ten-part series stars Miles Teller as Godfather producer Albert S. Ruddy, Juno Temple as Ruddy's assistant Bettye McCartt, Matthew Goode as Paramount chief Robert Evans, and Dan Fogler as director Francis Ford Coppola.
"It's the untold story of Al Ruddy, the producer of The Godfather, a great unsung hero of it," says Rocketman filmmaker Dexter Fletcher, who directed three episodes of the show and describes Ruddy as "the man behind the scenes, and behind the power, and behind the faces that we do all know."
Below, Teller, Temple, Goode, and Fogler talk about their characters, the research they conducted for the show, and their favorite scenes from Coppola's classic.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell us a bit about your characters.
MILES TELLER: So I play Al Ruddy, the producer of The Godfather. I don't know any producers today that are dealing with the amount of problems that Al was dealing with, especially the Mafia component to it all. I think that adds a real threat to how you go about your business. It's unimaginable in today's world to think that is an obstacle to making a movie.
JUNO TEMPLE: I had the absolute pleasure of getting to play Bettye McCartt, a brilliant woman who was working in a world that was incredibly male-oriented, and was brave and ballsy and brilliant, but also believed in the magic of moviemaking. She ended up having the wonderful experience of being Al Ruddy's secretary throughout the monumental journey that it was to make Godfather.
MATTHEW GOODE: I play Robert Evans in The Offer, who is the head of Paramount Pictures when we join him at the beginning of the series and he just about maintains that position 'til the end.
DAN FOGLER: I play Dan Fogler. No, I am Dan Fogler, and I play Francis Ford Coppola, and maybe someday someone will play me playing Francis! But, yeah, I get to step into the shoes of this iconic director as he is navigating just trying to get his movie made.
What kind of research did you do?
TELLER: Al was the biggest source that I had and then also just the internet. There is so much out there that you can find. There would be certain scenes that I would read in the script, and then I would try and find them online, and I could. There's video of Al the day that Joe Colombo (a real-life crime family boss) asks him to come down for this one thing, it ends up being something totally different, [Colombo] kind of slides the rug out from under Al. Being able to watch footage of that was really wild.
TEMPLE: There's actually not a lot of information about Bettye McCartt out there. We were asked to create character histories up until the moment where each character meets Al. So I went down this kind of wormhole of what movies would have been made in Oklahoma when she was growing up, and what restaurants she could have worked in where she would have crossed paths with a certain actor that would have potentially made a friendship with her, and ultimately all of this information would lead her to Los Angeles, and through another group of friends she would be told, you've got to go and work for this guy, he needs your help. [Laughs] So, she's like, "Okay, cool, I'm going to do it!"
GOODE: There were various forms of research. Obviously, Evans was a fairly iconic member of Hollywood and he had a voice that scared me a little bit. I mean, it's very, very funny when you listen to The Kid Stays In the Picture [Evans' autobiography whose audiobook the former Paramount chief also read]. You're like, okay, wow, but that's his voice when he's 70-odd years old. I didn't want to pick up too much of that rhythm because I knew it would be different when he was in his thirties. There's a lot of amazing, I mean amazing interviews [on] YouTube. I don't think I've ever heard anyone be so brutal about actors on a talk show and divulge stuff that no one would do anymore. I guess it says a lot about Bob and the times.
FOGLER: I mean, there's so much to see. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes footage of Godfather and Francis talking about the making of it. I really tried to focus on the early years. I found a real gem, which was the making of The Rain People by George Lucas (the 1968 documentary Filmmaker), and that was a great documentary to see Francis with all his neuroses and his anxiety. It was great to just see him at the beginning of his game, trying to prove himself, which is where he has to be at the beginning of the series.
What is your favorite scene from The Godfather?
TELLER: There's so many. I mean, especially knowing what I know now about Brando with the cat, I think that's one that sticks out. But, yeah, Sonny at the toll booth, the first I time I saw, that was something that was just so jarring.
TEMPLE: I have to say the moment where the Don finds out that Sonny's dead. I think that's some of the most profound acting of all time.
GOODE: Here's an interesting one that I always question a little bit. It's not my favorite scene, it's the one that [raises] a big question mark, and that's when Michael sees Kay again and he just assumes that it's going to be fine, after he's been married and [his wife's] been blown up, they have their first meeting together. Every time I see that I go, do I believe that? It's more interesting than going, "Oh, I like Luca Brasi lies with the fishes."
FOGLER: I love Sonny, I love that character quite a bit, but if I had to pick a favorite, I think it's probably anything with Brando in it. That was just a masterclass any time he was onscreen. I love when he would improv, there was such an element of improv in every one of his scenes, with the cat, bringing the cat in, we got to recreate that. This isn't in [The Offer] but I love the scene that he has where he's talking to his grandson, he puts the orange peel in his mouth. They basically said like, "Look, you have to play with the kid and then you have to die in the scene." That's all they told him! Then Brando creates that incredible improv with a kid who was totally unpredictable. That's just beautiful and it's gold. Love that. Brando, man. Like, how can you beat Brando?
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
The first three episodes of The Offer premiere on Paramount+ April 28. The three Godfather films will also be available to watch on the streaming service from that date.
Watch the trailer for The Offer below.
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