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Francis Ford Coppola is finally at peace with Godfather: Part III. The Oscar-winning director recut the Paramount gangster film to become the picture he envisioned some 30 years ago.
In a Thursday interview with CBS This Morning, Coppola said he believes the new version of the film — with a different beginning and ending — vindicates the movie, which, while being nominated for a slew of Oscars, was savaged by critics and some fans.
“It was like pulling on the thread of a sweater that annoyed you, and you end up re-knitting the whole sweater,” he says of the new cut, which has been retitled Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. “If an audience does not understand what is going on, it is very hard for them to be emotional about it.”
The most upsetting aspect of the negative press that the film got was the harsh criticism of his then 19-year-old daughter, Sofia, who played Mary Corleone after Winona Ryder had to drop out shortly after production started, on doctor’s orders due to exhaustion.
“When the film came out, the bullets that Sofia got were meant for me, just as in the story, ironically,” Coppola said. “My wife was very upset.”
The cast recently watched Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, including Sofia. “She didn’t want to see it, but she felt the whole thing was better,” Coppola said.
Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone will have a limited theatrical release beginning Friday and arrive on Blu-ray and digital Dec. 8.
Watch the entire interview below.
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