BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Paramount+ is presenting an “Offer” they are certain you can’t refuse. The streaming service will air a 10-episode series starting April 28, “The Offer,” that looks at the making of one of the most heralded movies in film history, “The Godfather.” The series marks the 50th anniversary of the Oscar-winning movie.
“The Godfather” was directed and co-written by Francis Ford Coppola based on Mario Puzo’s best-selling 1969 novel. It is the story of the Corleone family as directed by Vito Corleone – played by Marlon Brando. The cast also includes Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton. The film won three Oscars including being named Best Picture.
While the movie went on to become a landmark in cinema, it was not an easy production to get made. “The Offer” looks at all the challenges producer Al Ruddy (Miles Teller) faced getting the film off the ground. Ruddy not only had to deal with a nervous studio but real threats from the Mafia.
Nikki Toscano, one of the executive producers of “The Offer,” grew up as a huge fan of “The Godfather.” She was captivated by what she describes as “masterful and subtle storytelling.”
“It became the high water mark in my mind of what was possible. And it continues to inform me. To this day, I discover new things every time I watch it. And I can always watch it because ‘The Godfather’ examines the most universal theme of all: family,” Toscano says.
She goes on to praise the cast that also includes: Matthew Goode as Robert Evans; Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt; Giovanni Ribisi as Joe Colombo; Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola; Burn Gorman as Charles Bluhdorn; Colin Hanks as Barry Lapidus; and Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzo.
Teller had some assistance in playing Ruddy, as the two-time Oscar winner is one of the executive producers on the series. Along with “The Godfather,” Ruddy produced such projects as “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Longest Yard” and “Hogan’s Heroes.”
Conversations with Ruddy helped fill in some of the background for Teller but it was also a reminder of the responsibility he faced taking on a role based on a real person. Even though Ruddy is not as well-known as other players in the story, Teller felt a responsibility to play him as close to the real person as possible.
Teller says, “You do have a little more freedom there as far as your character likeness and your interpretation of them, feeling like you really need to hit certain things. I didn’t really feel that, but whenever you’re playing somebody in real life, I think there’s a great responsibility that comes with that.
“I think if somebody can watch this, who knew Al very well, thinks that there’s something there that we’re sharing some DNA, then that’s great.”
Ruddy eliminated some of the pressure Teller was feeling when they met to discuss the production. Ruddy told Teller that if playing him in “The Offer” didn’t work out, he had two other projects that he would be the perfect casting.
Teller loves how a man who 50 years ago hit the peak in Hollywood as the producer of “The Godfather” can still have the drive to keep making more movies.
Matthew Goode faced a more daunting task in playing Paramount Pictures top executive Bob Evans. While running the movie studio, the company produced such films as “Barefoot in the Park,” “The Odd Couple,” “True Grit,” “Serpico,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Great Gatsby” and “The Godfather.”
The idea of taking on the role initially terrified Goode.
“I was like, ‘[expletive deleted], I’m up against it. But let’s see what you’ve got, pal.’ There’s an awful lot you can find out on the internet,” Goode says. “I always think it’s very interesting, as Bob said himself, about anything, there’s always your version, the other person’s version, and then the truth.
“Actually, I found out a lot from talking to people, just being in Hollywood. So many times people would come up to me, and all the stories, considering there’s a lot of contentious stuff about his history, and actually him ending up on some say the slightly more evil side in and fights. Most of those people would come to you and go, ‘He was the nicest. He was the kindest. He was the most generous.’”
Goode’s previous acting jobs include roles that have had him playing characters based on real people and also fictional ones. His credits include the projects “The Crown,” “Downton Abbey,” “The Good Wife” and “Watchmen.”
The first three episodes of “The Offer” will be available on Paramount+ starting April 28. At this point, there are no plans to examine “Godfather II” or “Godfather III” in a similar way.