How Francis Ford Coppola Handled Real Mob Figures During the Making of “The Godfather”
Although it may appear to be fiction today, the filmmakers of The Godfather had to deal with real-life mobsters while filming the film. Robert Evans, the head of production at Paramount Pictures, recalls anonymous threats from the beginning. Then it became evident that if Paramount and filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola didn’t meet some of the mob’s demands, the shoot might face union problems (or worse).
Following bomb warnings, Gulf+Western, Paramount’s parent corporation, had to evacuate its Manhattan headquarters. Then Al Ruddy, the producer, heard a car following him around Los Angeles. During location scouting, the crew discovered that no one in Manhasset was willing to work with them.
Needless to say, this was not the best approach to make a film. As a result, Ruddy chose to join the mafia. Ruddy agreed to bring in a few Colombo colleagues to perform in The Godfather in addition to delivering the script to Colombo family chief Joe Colombo. Coppola, on the other hand, took author Mario Puzo’s counsel on how to deal with the Mafia.
Mobsters in the vicinity of the ‘Godfather’ shoot were simply disregarded by Francis Ford Coppola.
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Coppola knew that he had the insulation he needed and could get to work while the mobsters threw their weight around with Paramount brass. He followed Puzo’s instructions if he came across any mob figures throughout the shoot.
In 1975, Coppola told Playboy (through Scraps From the Loft), “I got fantastic counsel from Mario Puzo.” “He said Mafia members enjoyed the glitz and flash of show business and that if you allowed them, they’d be involved,” he said. Mario warned me that I would almost certainly be approached, and that if I was, I should refuse to talk to them.
Coppola accomplished this. When someone offered him a phone number or sought to pay him a visit, the director politely declined. Coppola told Playboy, “If there’s one thing about them, it’s that they respect that approach.” “They won’t intrude into your life if you turn them off.”
That was, however, only conceivable… This is a condensed version of the narrative. I hope you found it entertaining.