Al Pacino Almost Fired? Actor Reveals History Behind His ‘Godfather’ Role

Al Pacino was almost fired from The Godfather. That is just one of the many revelations shared by the actor as he promotes his latest big screen role in Danny Collins. In fact, Pacino almost quit the role himself not long after he was cast. He revealed this in an interview with The Today Show.

Many Pacino fans would say that they could not imagine The Godfather without him. However, he was an unknown actor back then. The Godfather launched his career, and he is still one of the best actors in the business.

It has been 40 years, but Pacino has managed to stay a strong force in Hollywood. That is not an easy task. It is clear that films are not the same as they were in the 1970s. Filmmaking has changed drastically in the last four decades.

Al Pacino spoke candidly about his casting in The Godfather with Matt Lauer.

“When Francis Coppola wanted me, I thought, ‘He’s sort of wrong; I think that’s not the right casting.’ The studios didn’t want me at the time at all. I was unknown at the time. But he fought so hard for me, and it was part of his vision.”

Francis Ford Coppola won the fight to cast Pacino, but the start of production was still tough. The studio did not want Pacino in the role, and he was almost fired in the early days of filming.

Al Pacino revealed the troubles he had during those early days in an interview with Byron Pitts for Nightline.

“They wanted to fire me when I was on the picture… [during] the shooting, first couple of weeks. Because they kept seeing the rushes, you know, or the footage that was shot, and they kept looking at it and thinking, ‘What is he doing?’ I was so confused at that time, and Francis was so supportive, you know, and so helping me in it, all of it. If it wasn’t for Francis, I would’ve just not showed up one day and said, ‘Hey, look man, I don’t want to be where I’m not wanted.’ It was — yes, a form of innocence or detachment in a crazy way. It was a kind of detachment. And then so that when the character finally emerges … you say where did that come from? That was what I was really going after.”

Pacino shared that it was work in the restaurant scene for The Godfather that changed his mind. After he saw that footage, he settled into the role. The rest is cinematic history. Pacino portrayed Michael Corleone in all three of The Godfather films.

Pacino is back on the big screen this week. Danny Collins was released in a limited fashion on Friday. Once again, Al was not too sure about the role he was cast in for the film. He is portraying an aging rock star in the film released by Bleecker Street.

Pacino revealed to Matt Lauer that he has not one ounce of musical talent, but he stars as the title character in the film that is loosely based on a letter sent by John Lennon to a folk singer. It took 30 years for the letter to arrive at its destination. Once the letter arrives, the man wants to change his life and go back to the folk singer he once was.

Even without an ounce of musical talent, Pacino has wanted to take on a role of a character that has it.

“I’ve always wanted to play someone who could sing and dance, even though I can’t. [Dan] was so keen on my playing the role!”

Danny Collins also stars Jennifer Garner, and she has spoken out about the opportunity she had to work with Al Pacino, according to WebProNews.

“I feel like, well, it’s a lot of work to be Al Pacino. And he very deftly neutralizes that factor when you meet him. He is generally good at putting people at ease. It looks exhausting to me–not that he makes it look exhausting–but he puts energy into making­ sure everyone feels supported and confident and good and not freaked out by his Al Pacino-ness. He’s not afraid to ask questions or not know the answers. And he’s quiet and complements you.”

Garner called working with the aging actor a “treat.” She also revealed that Pacino held weekly gatherings at home for the cast to go work through the script for the scenes coming up during the week ahead. During those sessions, the cast would improvise and change the script into something they could all be happy with once the cameras began to roll.

It is clear that Al Pacino still takes his work as an actor very seriously. After 40 years in the business, the actor has reached top-level status. However, Jennifer Garner’s comments reveal that he is low-key and focused on the work to be done. He may be a legend, but he surely does not expect to be treated like one.

On Saturday night, Pacino will sit down with Joy Behar for a special interview at Caesar’s in Atlantic City. According to a previous Inquisitr report, Pacino recently gave his support to a remake of Scarface. That is another one of his better-known roles.

Danny Collins is in limited release right now. Are you surprised that Pacino was almost fired from The Godfather?

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]