For a vast majority of movie fans, Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather”, based on the book by Mario Puzo, is the best movie of all time.
It is also the film that finished consolidating Al Pacino’s career thanks to his role as Michael Corleone and that marked his leap to stardom in Hollywood.
But what not everyone knows is that at first the leading role in the film was not for Pacino, but for Jack Nicholson.
The Oscar winner was excited about the project as he knew it was going to be a great movie. However, Nicholson ended up turning down the role because he felt he was not the right actor.
The reason was because, as the interpreter himself explained in a 1982 interview, the role had to be played by an Italian actor. He said on that occasion: “They asked me to play the main role, but I felt that it should be an Italian person.”
Also, the script he read didn’t feature any scenes with Marlon Brando. Nicholson recounts: “I also didn’t have any scenes with Marlon in the script I read. Well, I’m only going to work with Marlon once, and hopefully it’s something we really have to work on together. “
“At the same time, I thought ‘The Last Duty’ and ‘Chinatown’ are, for me, the most interesting films,” added Nicholson, Screenrant said.
Al Pacino went to therapy for 25 years after the success of “The Godfather”
“The Godfather” meant the consecration of Francis Ford Coppola, but also that of Al Pacino, at that time an unknown actor who had the responsibility of playing Michael Corleone, the son of Don Vito who soon took over the power of the family dedicated to the organized crime.
It was 1972 and the success of the film fell to Pacino, who was not ready for fame. His role brought him an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for the first time and was the start of a successful career. However, the fame and exposure he had after the Corleone family film overcame him, to the point that he had to go to psychological therapy for 25 years.
“I had my problems, of course, and that’s why I turned to therapy. I went five days a week and that’s how I was for 25 years, “he revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
The 80-year-old actor adds that fame and exposure is something the actor has to get used to. “I remember Lee Strasberg telling me, ‘Honey, you just have to take it in.’ And it is true that you have to do it, but it is not that simple ”.
Pacino admits that he should have left the world of entertainment, but then he had to come back because “you have no choice but to work,” he said in conversation with Scott Feinberg.
“I needed to temporarily get away from that hellish pace, and even from the industry itself. It suited me very well and I really enjoyed that time. But there comes a time when your money runs out, and you have no choice but to work hard to get it back, “he said.