We all know that renowned filmmaker Martin Scorsese had the offer to direct the second installment of the cult film series – The Godfather. But the idea behind him refusing to go along with the project has been a part of discussion among movie buffs for quite some time. Now, it’s time to put a stop on speculation as Martin Scorsese has revealed why he couldn’t do the project despite an offer by Francis Ford Coppola, who have directed the three parts of The Godfather. In an exclusive interview with Deadline, Martin shared that he didn’t think he could make a film like The Godfather II, “depicting higher-level underworld figures,” back then. Francis Ford wanted to write the story of the 1974 film with Mario Puzo, which he did, but also wanted Martin Scorsese to take over the project as a director. Martin, who had worked on films like Mean Streets, Who’s That Knocking At My Door and Street Scenes by then, couldn’t accept the offer as he considered himself “more street-level,” someone who couldn’t have justified making “a film as elegant and masterful and as historically important as The Godfather II.”
Explaining why he declined the offer of directing The Godfather II, the filmmaker told the publication: “He (Francis) told me, and, honestly, I don’t think I could have made a film on that level at that time in my life, and who I was at that time. To make a film as elegant and masterful and as historically important as Godfather II, I don’t think… Now, I would’ve made something interesting, but his maturity was already there. I still had this kind of edgy thing, the wild kid running around.”
He added: “I didn’t find myself that comfortable with depicting higher-level underworld figures. I was more street-level. There were higher-level guys in the street. I could do that. I did it in Goodfellas particularly. That’s where I grew up. What I saw around me wasn’t guys in a boardroom or sitting around a big table talking. That took another artistic level that Francis had at that point. He didn’t come from that world, the world that I came from. The story of The Godfather II is more like Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. It’s wonderful art.”
The Godfather II, followed by a third installment in 1990, emerged as one of the all time classics in the world of cinema. It starred Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, James Caan, Diane Keaton and John Cazale, among others.
Martin Scorsese is prepping for his upcoming film Killers Of The Flower Moon, which is set against a series of Osage Nation murders. It will have its world premiere at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival and will release in theatres worldwide later this year.