“The Offer”: a miniseries delves into the eventful backstage of the “Godfather”

To celebrate 50 years of Godfather, what could be better than recounting the turbulent backstage? The filming of the adaptation of Mario Puzo’s novel is as incredible as its subject: caught in a vice between the real Italian-American mafia who does not want such a portrait and the owner of the studio who believes neither in the subject nor in the actors, the film team will still end up winning three Oscars. Released in 1972, Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece remains one of the jewels of the Paramount studio, which has decided to devote a 10-episode miniseries to it.

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Rather than adopting the point of view of the director ofApocalypse Now, The Offer was based on the memories of Albert S. Ruddy, played in the series by Miles Teller (the young hero of Top Gun – Maverick alongside Tom Cruise ): he was then only an inexperienced producer, whose only claim to fame was the ineffable series Papa Schultz. If he has since produced The Cannonball Squad with Burt Reynolds,Million Dollar Baby of Clint Eastwood and the series Walker, Texas Ranger with Chuck Norris, The Godfather is his ticket to the big leagues. Now 93, he spent two weeks recounting the filming of the feature film to screenwriter Michael Tolkin, a story transcribed into a 140-page document.

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How to do better than a masterpiece? We never place ourselves in Coppola’s camera, we stay behind him

“Lots of people take credit for the success of what remains one of the best films ever made, and the truth of some is not always that of others.says screenwriter and producer Nikki Toscano, met at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival. Al Ruddy’s story served as our North Star. That said, we didn’t want to diminish the impact of Francis Ford Coppola or Robert Evans, the studio head. But in the end, it’s not a documentary, it’s still a series. » She was also able to rely on her own experience, having worked the previous year on Hunters (Prime Video), which includes a certain Al Pacino in its cast: “During production, Pacino told us lots of stories about filming The Godfather, which inspired many of the scenes in The Offer. It was extraordinary, because he is an outstanding storyteller. »

The series refuses to reconstruct images from the film, stopping as soon as the director shouts ” stock ! ». “How can you do better than a masterpiece? We never place ourselves in Coppola’s camera, we stay behind him. » It was still necessary to find actors to play Al Pacino and consorts for the rehearsal scenes or behind the scenes, in particular during an extraordinary dinner sequence where the director brings together his entire cast, who begin to behave like a real family. A challenge for actors facing often parodied protagonists. “We wanted to avoid going towards imitation, favoring actors who knew how to capture the essence of these characters”says Nikki Toscano.

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freedoms with the truth

The best surprise comes from Justin Chambers, who has the heavy task of playing Marlon Brando: “I used to watch Grey’s Anatomy with my daughter, and my only image of Justin was of Dr. Alex Karev, acknowledges the screenwriter. But when he arrived, everyone was amazed: we only saw Brando! » Justin will win the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the Hollywood legend and we wish him an Emmy Award. He will have a hard time dealing with a Matthew Goode (Stoker, Watchmen) unleashed in the role of Robert Evans, this former child actor turned Paramount boss, a socialite cocaine addict who symbolizes alone the Hollywood of the 1970s.

Because if The Offer often takes liberties with the truth, it is above all a delightful portrait of the backstage of the major studios. “She talks about how difficult it is to do anything in Hollywood, let alone something successful”concludes the producer.

The Offer***, Michael Tolkin and Leslie Greif, with Miles Teller, Matthew Goode, Juno Temple.10 episodes of 50 minutes. Available.

“The Offer”: a miniseries delves into the eventful backstage of the “Godfather”