DEADLINE: Barry Levinson will direct Francis And The Godfather, with Oscar Isaac starring as Francis Coppola and Jake Gyllenhaal as Robert Evans in a drama about the legendary and wild battles that went into making the 1972 classic The Godfather. The film is based on a Black List script by Andrew Farotte that was redeveloped by Levinson. Echo Lake Entertainment’s Mike Marcus, Doug Mankoff and Andrew Spaulding are producing with Kevin Turen, Jon Levin and Baltimore Pictures’ Jason Sosnoff.
Endeavor Content is handling worldwide rights with FilmNation.
While The Godfather is considered to be one of the greatest American films and a symbol of the ’70s auteur era, getting there was no easy task. Coppola was 31 at the time, determined to convince Evans and the studio to allow him to film expensively in New York, set in the time period of a novel which would become a big bestseller. This after the original Mario Puzo script was set in contemporary Kansas City. Among the other debates was the idea to gamble on Marlon Brando, an eclectic character who hadn’t been in a hit film in years, to play mob family patriarch Don Corleone (for which he would win the Best Actor prize), and also Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, a character who slowly evolved from a desire to get far away from the family business to taking it over when it was clear his father would be murdered even after a bungled assassination attempt. Evans, who took the top job after a career as an actor, had pressures all his own, as the studio was in danger of closing up shop. There was also the uneasy discussions with real mobsters who were none too pleased to have their dirty business to be aired in a major studio film.