The 158-minute re-edit, entitled The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, includes a different beginning and ending to the film.
While the actor refused to compare the third movie with the previous two in the series, he told Deadline that he views the improved cut as comparable to Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, in which he starred opposite Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.
“The Irishman had the same people, but looked at them with a different lens, a different story,” he said.
“That worked well for Marty because you weren’t comparing it to Goodfellas or Casino. Godfather, The Death of Michael Corleone is also different and hard to compare to the other two, including the tragic place this leads to.”
He added that he was glad Coppola had a chance to do the new cut, and hoped it would “resolve things” for his daughter, director Sofia Coppola, who starred as Mary Corleone.
“I love that girl, and at the time, it was a big thing. Imagine, a teenager being dragged over the coals like that, in her father’s film?” he said.
The then 18-year-old Sofia, who at the time had just a few small cameos under her belt, was cast as a last-minute replacement in the film after Winona Ryder’s abrupt exit.
Her performance was described by critics as “flat, amateurish, and unconvincing”.
“There wasn’t an internet then but there is now and I hope they are decent to her, and more understanding,” Pacino said. “I do think the injury to his daughter was a real motivator for Francis. He probably just stared at the painting for a good long time, trying to figure out. And then, boom, he found it.”
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Diane Keaton recently told Variety that she was now a fan of the third film, having not been impressed by the original edit.
“It was one of the best moments of my life to watch it,” Keaton said. “To me it was a dream come true. I saw the movie in a completely different light.
“When I saw it way back, it was like ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ It didn’t seem to do that well and the reviews weren’t great. But Francis restructured the beginning and the end and man, I’m telling you it worked.”
Of people criticising Sofia’s performance she said: “That’s not going to happen anymore. She’s what a daughter would be like if you had this guy as your dad, the head of a criminal organisation. She was not so sure of herself and is kind of quiet. Kind of haunted. I thought she was fantastic.”
In an interview with The Independent last month, Sofia reflected on The Godfather: Part III, saying: “It’s hard for me to watch my 18-year-old self. So much time has passed but it’s just weird to see yourself with all that baby fat. It was strange to see… it’s almost like another person.”
The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is in selected cinemas on 5 and 6 December and available on digital platforms and Blu-Ray from 8 December.
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