Even though Sonny Corleone (James Caan) famously beat up his brother-in-law Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather (1972), the actor who played Carlo’s brother-in-law claims that his character wasn’t the only thing to suffer during the making of the Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece.
It’s been revealed that the relationship between Caan and Gianni Russo, who played the husband of the sole Corleone daughter who died, began to deteriorate before the filming of the Harlem confrontation, which was precipitated by Rizzi’s mistreatment of Corleone’s sister.
On and off the set, “Sonny and I had a problem,” says Russo, saying that his acquaintance with the neighborhood (and its residents) likely “pissed [Caan] off.”
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“We choreographed that scene for about a day and a half… Jimmy got a little aggressive, I would say, and he improvised a few things like that little billy club he threw at me when I came off the stoop. He hit me right in the head with that, and then he throws me over the railing and he’s biting my hands… when I crawl out, he literally lifted me up with his kick… none of that was supposed to happen.”
This includes a chipped elbow and two broken bones in his ribs, according to the actor. It’s not clear whether or not this was an intentional decision on his part. “With this being my first film, I didn’t want to complain,” Gianni Russo explains. “Jimmy and I are not friends at all, believe me. The guy’s nuts.” Among the several blows Caan delivered to Russo, one stands out as being clearly staged.
“That one miss when he throws that punch at me and I react… everybody knows [the punch is actually] about six inches away from me,” he recalls. “I asked Francis Ford Coppola at the 25th anniversary, ‘Why didn’t you fix that?’ Because we had cameras on the roof, cameras all over. We had every angle they needed to fix it, but they couldn’t touch it. Once you win an Oscar, you can’t touch that negative.”
How old is James Caan when he died?
When James Caan, who died at the age of 82, was looking for fulfillment, he turned to dangerous sports, drugs, and wild social life. Even if the gossip and explosive headlines go away, his countless excellent performances in dozens of films and television shows will live on. For more such updates do follow us only on Venturejolt.com