Francis and the Godfather will tell the tale of making the 1972 classic, with Oscar Isaac taking on the role of director Francis Ford Coppola. While The Godfather is heralded as a cinematic masterpiece now, it was not that way when the movie was being made. Paramount fought Coppola on nearly all of his decisions, which will be heavily documented in the movie as Jake Gyllenhaal portrays legendary former Paramount Studio head Robert Evans.
Barry Levinson takes on directorial duties of Francis and The Godfather from the Black List script by Andrew Farotte. "Out of the madness of production, and against all odds, a classic film happened," Levinson said in a statement. Francis Ford Coppola, who is currently working on a new edit of Godfather: Part III, said, "Any movie that Barry Levinson makes about anything, will be interesting and worthwhile!" At this time, only Oscar Isaac and Jake Gyllenhaal have been announced to star in the movie.
In addition to Francis Ford Coppola and Robert Evans, Barry Levinson is going to have to find actors to portray Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan, John Cazale, Talia Shire, and Diane Keaton. Plus, producer Albert S. Ruddy and Robert Evans' right-hand man at Paramount, Peter Bart will need to be cast too. It sounds like casting the movie could be as hard as it was for Francis Ford Coppola to actually make The Godfather back in the early 1970s.
Echo Lake is a producer on the movie and the company's Mike Marcus also spoke about Francis and The Godfather. He says, "Here was a young man who lived outside the system and every step of the way the system was telling him, 'You can't do that.' But Francis never gave up on his vision and the result speaks for itself." Paramount reportedly did not want Al Pacino to be included in The Godfather and fought hard against the casting of Marlon Brando, who had not had a box office hit in the years leading up to the production. At the time, Paramount was in desperate need of a box office hit, and they did not think that Francis Ford Coppola was going to be able to pull it off.
Marlon Brando went on to win an Academy Award for his performance in The Godfather. However, he boycotted the event and sent his trophy to Sacheen Littlefeather, "an Apache activist for Native American rights, as the actor protested Hollywood's portrayal of Native Americans and the standoff at Wounded Knee." The movie also ended up taking home Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, so it was exactly the hit that Paramount needed, though it took a lot of fighting and perseverance from Francis Ford Coppola to get it made. Deadline was the first to report on Oscar Isaac and Jake Gyllenhaal starring in Francis and The Godfather.