I was a Young man, when I went to shoot The Godfather. I remember being in Sicily, and it was so hot. If you haven't slept and you're not feeling well and it's 120 degrees and you're dressed in all wool, well, you just want to go home. You start feeling, What am I doing? I'm just shooting this over and over again and I don't know what this is anymore.
All these Sicilian extras were lined up. They all got wool clothes on, too. This one guy, this Sicilian extra, says in Italian, "We've been out here all day. It's hot. I'd like to take a break." And the production guy says, "You take a break and you're off the picture." Now, the extra obviously has no money, which is why he's doing it in the first place. He looks at the production guy, shrugs his shoulders, says "Mah!" and walks away. And I said to myself, This guy, he's my hero.
These are the things that stay in my head. I loved that guy. Could I have done that? No. Could I do it now? Nahhhhhhhh. That was freedom. For a moment, that guy made me feel good. Suddenly, the wool was OK.
I didn't know what was gonna happen with the movie - and then, the most amazing thing happened. We were in New York, doing the burial of Don Corleone. We'd shot all day. It's six at night and I'm going home. I see Francis Coppola sitting on the gravestone, and he's crying. Literally bawling. "Francis," I say. "What happened? What's the matter?" And he says, "They won't give me another set-up." Meaning, they wouldn't let him shoot the scene again. So he's sitting on the gravestone crying, and I thought, This guy is going to make a movie here. If he's got that kind of passion, that kind of feeling about one set-up ... That was the moment. I could feel it then. This guy cares. And that's it. That's the way to live - around people who care. It may be a tough ride, but something is going to come out of it.
Al Pacino- The Legend (March 8, 2003), Al Pacino speaks to Cal Fussman.
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