Screen Testing with Pacino, Brando & De Niro: The Godfathers that almost Never Were

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4th Feb, 2013

If someone ever admits to having never seen The Godfather (it happens more than you would think), I instantly get dramatic; widening my eyes, dropping my jaw with a gigantic gasp and other over-the-top gestures. It’s obviously a pretty obnoxious reaction but one that I feel is apparently appropriate for describing how I feel about the prospect of missing out on such a perfect cinematic event.

But alas, these behind-the-scenes clips of screen tests for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 Mario Puzo adaptation, reveal that it nearly wasn’t so perfect. We hear from Coppola, James Caan, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and various producers talking about how most of the principle actors not only very nearly didn’t get the parts, but Marlon Brando’s name was blacklisted by executives. As for the part of Michael Corleone, everyone but Al Pacino was in with a chance. While blonde-haired actors like Robert Redford and Ryan O’Neal were being considered, Al Pacino was the dark horse who producers really, really didn’t want to cast…

“I just don’t respond well to being around where I’m not wanted”– Al Pacino

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“As President of Paramount Pictures, Marlon Brando will never appear in this picture”.

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“Me and four thousand other people came in”– Robert De Niro’s screen test.

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Via Open Culture

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