Francis Ford Coppola To Publish 720-Page Notebook From ‘The Godfather’

Director Francis Ford Coppola’s 720-page notebook from The Godfather will be published as a book this fall, and it will reportedly detail his creative process, feature his personal annotations and directions, casting notes, and never-before-published photos, per Rolling Stone. The Godfather Notebook will also include a new introduction by Coppola.

“This notebook was my private work reference to The Godfather film, and after many years, I’m excited to share it with those who may be interested,” Coppola said. “It is the key to understanding what went into making the film from Mario Puzo’s novel.”

The Godfather Notebook will be priced at $50, with a limited number of signed copies to be available from Regan Arts for $250. Scans from the notebook are available to preview on the publisher’s website.

Based on Puzo’s best-selling novel of the same name, The Godfather was released in 1971 and spawned two sequels. The film cemented Coppola as a Hollywood pioneer and earned him and the late Puzo the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Marlon Brando took home the Best Actor trophy for his portrayal of Don Corleone.

Puzo’s The Godfather archive sold at an auction back in February for $625,000. Among the items sold was a letter the author sent to Brando telling him that he wasn’t going to be cast in the film.

“I have a letter that Puzo sent to Brando that tells you that Brando was out, wasn’t even going to get the part. It’s mind-blowing,” Bobby Livingstone said, executive vice president of RR Auction House.

Puzo died in 1999, and since then, his family has sold over two dozen boxes of materials spanning his career. Prior to his death, Puzo spoke with NPR about that Brando letter and the decision to ultimately cast him in the film.

“I wrote him a letter and he called me up and we had a chat and then I tried to get Paramount to take him and they refused. And then when the director came onto the picture — I talked to the director, Francis Coppola, and he managed to talk Paramount into letting Brando play the role,” Puzo said.

For a time, The Godfather was the highest-grossing picture ever made, and it also won an Academy Award for Best Picture. The Godfather Part II was released in 1974 and is partially based on Puzo’s 1969 novel. It serves as both sequel and prequel to The Godfather, and it earned 11 Academy Awards nominations, including the first sequel to win for Best Picture. Coppola earned a Best Director nod, and he and Puzo were nominated once again for Best Adapted Screenplay. De Niro scored a nod for Best Supporting Actor, and Al Pacino was nominated for Best Actor. The performance earned him the BAFTA Award for Best Actor. The sequel earned over $50 million against a $13 million budget.

Unlike the critical acclaim of the first two films, The Godfather Part III received mixed reviews. It arrived in theaters in 1990 and grossed over $136 million. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Coppola’s epic war adventure film Apocalypse Now was released to acclaim, and it was honored with the Palme d’Or at Cannes. It was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture and the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama. It is considered one of the greatest films ever made because of its cultural and historical significance.

Back in 2011, Coppola spoke to a sold-out audience during the Toronto International Film Festival about working with A-list actors and his writing process. As NPR noted, Francis said The Godfather movie, “Made me be something I didn’t know I was going to be. I became a big-shot director. If you take a young Long Island Italian guy and give him endless possibilities, then you’ll see what kind of crazy things I did in the course of my career.”

Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Notebook will be available November 15.

[Photo by Chris Pizzello/AP Images]