The legendary Italian-born actor Alfredo James Pacino aka Al Pacino has made a name for himself in Hollywood in golden letters with his unforgettable films. The successful actor created an icon with the character ‘Tony Montana’ in the 1983 film ‘Scarface’ and ‘Scarface’ is still one of the most watched films today. He won an Oscar and a Golden Globe with the film “Scent of a Woman” in 1992. The veteran artist won the Emmy Award in 2004 and 2010, and received the AFI (American Film Institute) award for ensemble of his career in 2007.
Adapted from the novel written by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, “The Godfather” (Father) is one of the unforgettable films that everyone knows and watches with affection.
The successful actor, who rose to fame around the world with the character of “Michael Corleone” in the series “The Godfather”, quickly rose through the ranks of fame.
It’s been 50 years since the first film in the series hit the big screen.
On the occasion of the film’s 50th anniversary, Al Pacino answered Barbaros Tapan’s questions for Kelebek readers.


Al Pacino: Your dad didn't even own a trailer

◊ About how many times have you watched “The Godfather”?
– I’m too old to answer that question. But I haven’t looked at it for a long time. The movie poster hangs on the wall of my house, I show it to others.

◊ Most viewers talk about discovering something new each time they watch the film. So is it the same for you?
– Like I said, I’m not watching. When I look at it, I see how new and young I am. Thank you very much for the kind comments from the public.

◊ Did you see the film for the first time with director Francis Ford Coppola?
– Yes, I saw him for the first time with Francis. It wasn’t even over yet. Despite this, he made me watch an excerpt from the film.

◊ What did you think of the film when you first saw it?
– I thought it was beautiful. Of course, I also watched my own performance.


◊ Did Francis Ford Coppola ask your opinion?
– Yes, he asked me what I thought of the film. So I went to his office and gave him my notes on the film.

◊ What was Coppola’s reaction when you distributed the notes?
– He didn’t read them. He did not do anything. I was very young then, trying to understand the film. But in the end it turned out to be a great job. You don’t know how things turn out until audiences see the movie. The public tells you about the film you made. As I have often said, this situation is like a painting. When I’m painting a picture, I don’t really see what I’m doing until I step back. When I get too close to the canvas, I don’t see the painting. The movie is the same. The film is the audience. The public allows you to see what is actually there.


Al Pacino: Your dad didn't even own a trailer


◊ How did you cross paths with Francis Ford Coppola?
– I knew Coppola before. I did a play on Broadway. He came to see me there, I didn’t know it. He sent me a script. The script was a love story and he wanted me to go to San Francisco right away so I could act in it. It was a very good script. I hung out with Francis for 4 or 5 days. Then I came back. I never heard from him again.

◊ When did you hear from Francis Ford Coppola next?
– It’s been a year. I received a call from him. I was working as an actress in New York. No one would know me. I remember loving him, thinking he was very smart and very talented. He called me and said, “I’m doing The Godfather.” It was the biggest book on the market at the time, we were also talking about the movie and it was obvious that it would be a big movie. “Why is he telling me this? ” I thought. “He can’t do The Godfather, it’s impossible!” I said to myself. “I want you to play Michael,” he said. I thought about the role of Michael. There were a lot of big movie stars there. I started thinking about how to get such a role. Then I said to myself: “I don’t want to, I’m fine, my life is fine”. I mean, I had a simple life…


◊ One of the highlights of the series was the scene where Sollozzo and McCluskey were killed in the restaurant. This scene was a turning point for the character of Michael Corleone that you played, right?
– Yes, this scene was in “The Godfather 2″… In fact, this scene was planned to be in other films of the series, but Francis moved it forward. Because the filmmakers wanted to fire me. You don’t know what’s going on, what people are talking about behind the scenes. Anyway, I liked the way the scene played out and I guess I stayed in the movie that way…



◊ I think you were excited when you got the role of Michael Corleone.
– It was exciting. There’s something I haven’t said over the years; but I have to say it this evening, because I don’t know when I will have the opportunity to say it again. I only said that to my grandmother when I got the part. I called her and said, ‘Grandma, I’m in ‘The Godfather’. There was a long pause, she said “Oh” and hung up. Half an hour later he called back, ‘Corleone is my grandfather’s daughter
where he was born,” he said. The last name of the character I was going to play was Corleone. If it’s not fate, what is? It was completely fate.

Al Pacino: Your dad didn't even own a trailer

Al Pacino gained worldwide recognition for his role as “Michael Corleone”.class=”medianet-inline-adv”>


◊ Is there a moment you can’t forget during the shooting of the film?
– We were shooting a funeral scene one day. Filming of the scene was postponed when the lights went out in the evening. I was happy because I thought I could go home now. I was going to change my clothes and leave for New York. It was then that I saw Francis Ford Coppola sitting on his tombstone and looking away from me. She was sobbing. “What’s wrong Francois?” I said. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “They can’t trap me anymore. They weren’t going to give him another chance on this movie, and he knew it. At that moment, I knew; it will be a great movie. Because there was passion in his eyes. It’s the cure for everything.



◊ You have a very brave scene with Diane Keaton. How did you feel watching this scene on the big screen?
– I’ll be honest, when I see myself on the big screen, I don’t feel like myself. I feel like it’s a character that I play. I’m watching “The Godfather”; It is not me! I see nothing of myself. I look at the great actors in you. There were great people like Al Lettieri, Sterling Hayden. I shared a room with these people. Sterling Hayden has been an icon throughout his career, in the same room as me and Al Lettieri. We had no trailers. We had no trailer to go to. I remember complaining to the stars in the sky. “Why don’t I have a trailer?” Why doesn’t anyone care about us?” saying. When I look now; priceless and unforgettable memories.

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