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Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'

The Godfather and The Godfather Part II are often considered to be two of the greatest Hollywood films of all time

Neela Debnath
Sunday 26 April 2015 11:16 BST
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Al Pacino still considers his role in The Godfather to be the most difficult one of his career
Al Pacino still considers his role in The Godfather to be the most difficult one of his career (Getty Images)

It is considered to be the role that launched his career and defined him as one of the finest actors of his generation but Al Pacino nearly didn’t make it into The Godfather.

The 1972 gangster film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola saw Pacino play Michael Corleone, a young man initiated into the “family business”.

However, Pacino says that the studio weren’t completely sure he was the right actor for the role and were considering sacking him and finding someone else.

The 75-year-old actor, whose career has spanned five decades, revealed that Michael Corleone is still his most challenging part.

“Michael Corleone in The Godfather was and still is the most difficult role I’ve played. I didn’t see him as a gangster; I felt his power was his enigmatic quality,” he told The Guardian.

Pacino continued, “Unfortunately the studio couldn’t see that at first and were thinking of firing me. It was during my early career, a major movie with Marlon Brando, and no one other than Francis [Ford Coppola] wanted me for the part.”

The film is based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name and sees the development of Michael Corleone from an unwilling outsider to a key part of his mafia family and eventually taking over from his father Don Vito, played by Marlon Brando in the film.

The Godfather is considered to be one of the greatest Hollywood films of all time and the sequel The Godfather Part II is often cited as the best sequel.

The star also explained that despite what people think, there is no rivalry between himself and his Godfather II co-star Robert De Niro. The pair starred together in Heat and Righteous Kill.

“I know Bobby pretty well. He’s a friend and he and I have gone through similar things. I love what he does with comedy; it’s pure genius.”

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