The production of Francis Ford Coppola’s iconic film “The Godfather” is getting the movie treatment from director Barry Levinson, with Oscar Isaac attached to play the Oscar-winning filmmaker and Jake Gyllenhaal set to star as Robert Evans, the former head of Paramount Pictures. Deadline first reported the news. The film is officially titled “Francis and The Godfather” and is based on a script by Andrew Farotte that made The Black List. Per Deadline, Echo Lake Entertainment’s Mike Marcus, Doug Mankoff and Andrew Spaulding are producing with Kevin Turen, Jon Levin and Baltimore Pictures’ Jason Sosnoff.
Levinson and Coppola shared their enthusiasm for the new project in brief statements to Deadline. The former said, “Out of the madness of production, and against all odds, a classic film happened,” while the latter said, “Any movie that Barry Levinson makes about anything, will be interesting and worthwhile!”
As Deadline notes, the production of “The Godfather” had no shortage of juicy developments that should make for an insightful making-of narrative feature. Author Mario Puzo originally wrote a script for the film that updated the events of the novel to contemporary Kansas City, before Coppola pushed the studio to allow him to make an expensive, New York City-set period piece that kept the time and setting of Puzo’s source material.
The filmmaker also clashed with Paramount over the casting of Al Pacino, while the studio also feared the casting of the eccentric Marlon Brando in the title role. The film would appear to follow in the footsteps of David Fincher’s upcoming Netflix original “Mank,” which tells the behind-the-scenes story of the making of “Citizen Kane.” Ben Affleck is also attached to direct a film about the making of “Chinatown,” which Evans produced at Paramount Pictures.
News of “Francis and The Godfather” follows an announcement that Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) is moving ahead with an original drama series about the making of “The Godfather” titled “The Offer.” That project is being set up as a 10-episode limited series that follows Al Ruddy’s experience producing “The Godfather.” Ruddy is serving as executive producer, and Emmy-winning producer Leslie Greif (“Hatfields & McCoys”) is attached as an executive producer and a writer on the series.
Coppola, meanwhile, is working on his director’s cut of “The Godfather Part III.”