Oscar Isaac will star as Francis Ford Coppola in Francis and the Godfather, a new feature film about the making of — you guessed it — The Godfather. Via The Hollywood Reporter, Barry Levinson will direct and Jake Gyllenhaal will play legendary Paramount head Robert Evans.
The Godfather had a famously troubled production history. Evans picked up the rights to Mario Puzo’s book The Godfather for a pittance after learning that Puzo was up to his eyeballs in gambling debt. As he explained in his autobiography The Kid Stays in the Picture, he then offered the director’s chair to half of Hollywood before landing on Coppola. Personally, Coppola didn’t want anything to do with the “sleazy” story, but wouldn’t you know it, he was also deeply in debt. Things didn’t improve on set, as Coppola and Evans fought over just about every choice, from the casting of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino to the catering.
Levinson re-worked a script from Andrew Farotte, and it reportedly emphasizes the battles between Evans and Coppola. In a statement to THR, he described what attracted him to the project, saying, “Out of the madness of production, and against all odds, a classic film happened.”
Evans died last year, but Coppola has offered his blessing. He said, “Any movie that Barry Levinson makes about anything, will be interesting and worthwhile!”
Coppola has taken a break from his wine empire to return to Corleone family saga. In December, he’ll release a reworked version of The Godfather III, which he promises will be a “more appropriate conclusion.”
Recently Barry Levinson has been making big movies for the small screen. His last two pictures, The Wizard of Lies and Paterno, premiered on HBO. Meanwhile, Oscar Isaac has been starring in the most blockbuster-y of blockbuster movies, putting the “damn” in Poe Dameron for the new Star Wars Trilogy and showing off a beard to make Coppola jealous in the trailer for Dune. As for Jake Gyllenhaal, his last role was as Mysterio in 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home.