The Offer dramatizes Oscar-winning producer Albert S. Ruddy’s never-revealed experiences of making The Godfather, a classic film that defined the 1970s as a unique era in cinema.
Paramount+ brings the untold behind-the-scenes drama of the making of The Godfather to the streamer on April 28.
Ted Lasso star Juno Temple plays Bettye McCartt along with Miles Teller as Albert S. Ruddy, Matthew Goode as Robert Evans, Giovanni Ribisi as Joe Colombo, Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola, Burn Gorman as Charles Bluhdorn, and Colin Hanks as Barry Lapidus.
The adapted story from Mario Puzo’s novel was a master class in both visceral and subtle storytelling, with the late Gordon Willis serving as cinematographer. In a 2004 interview with Mr. Willis, he told me that the shadow and light play gave the atmospheric veritas that director Francis Ford Coppola wanted, despite numerous disagreements throughout the making of the film.
The Godfather’s epic swath of family, the Cosa Nostra, and tales of the earliest days of the Italian American mafia resonated for the times, as many people, especially those on the east coast, knew of these characters and were familiar with how the structure of the families that ran the crime rings in the big cities operated.
It is considered a classic and is still relevant to this day. Coppola imbued themes of family and loyalty in the script, showing the gritty and murderous side of “the family business.” The Offer is the incredible story of producer Al Ruddy going to the proverbial mattresses to get this film made.
It’s told from Ruddy’s POV, and it examines the extreme set of challenges that he faced. He evaded mandates from his corporate bosses at Gulf + Western to threats from the actual Mafia and juggled Hollywood’s nuances and outright blocks to cast the film and crew up for filming.
The Offer introduces Bettye McCartt into the male-dominated mix
The late Bettye McCartt began her career as a publicist at Twentieth Century Fox. Later, she became involved with the production of several movies, such as The Godfather and The Longest Yard. Eventually she became a successful talent manager, until her death in 2013.
At the recent winter press tour for the Television Critics Association, in which TV Shows Ace participated, actors were on the panel to answer questions. Juno Temple shared how she tapped into the essence of her character, Ms. McCartt.
She said: “Bettye McCartt, there is not a lot of information to find out about her. And historically, The Godfather to me was definitely a film that, like Nikki [executive producer Nikki Toscano], I watched before I was a teenager, and it deeply affected me. And I have such a romanticism of Hollywood past, and I’m so intoxicated by it. …The weekend before we had the luxury of having a couple of weeks of rehearsals, he actually said to us, ‘So, you guys got a little bit of homework to do. I would love you guys to come in on Monday with a back a story about who you are and how you got to the moment of meeting Al Ruddy,” which then takes you forth into the journey of making The Godfather.”
TV Shows Ace asked Nikki Toscano if The Offer would reveal how Al Ruddy had hired Gordon Willis. She said: “Yes, Gordon Willis is a part of The Offer. And yes, Al Ruddy did include Gordon Willis as a part of his stories, I think, along with a number of other people. Gordon Willis, his talent and what he brought to The Godfather is captured in The Offer and many other people who had a wide amount of influence over the making of the film.”
The 10-episode limited event series is created and written by Oscar and Emmy-nominated writer Michael Tolkin and also written and executive produced by Nikki Toscano, who serves as showrunner.
In addition to Tolkin and Toscano, two-time Oscar-winner Albert S. Ruddy, Miles Teller, Russell Rothberg, and Leslie Greif, who also developed the series, serve as executive producers alongside Dexter Fletcher directed the first two episodes of the series.
Episode 101: “A Seat at the Table”: Al Ruddy leaves the Rand Corporation and wins the job to produce Mario Puzo’s bestselling novel, “The Godfather” for Paramount Pictures. Joe Colombo, a rising crime boss in the Mafia, wants the film dead.
Episode 102: “Warning Shots”: With Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo penning the script, Al Ruddy and Bettye McCartt confront enemies of the film that included Frank Sinatra, LA Gangster Mickey Cohen, and the Colombo led Italian-American Civil Rights League. Meanwhile, Robert Evans and Gulf & Western’s Barry Lapidus war over the creative direction of Paramount Pictures.
Episode 103: “Fade In”: Ruddy must meet with Joe Colombo, and Evans finds himself navigating hot waters with Gulf & Western’s CEO Charlie Bluhdorn. Meanwhile, Bluhdorn takes an interest in Bettye.
The first three episodes of the 10-episode-long series will be available to stream. Following the premiere, new episodes will drop weekly on Thursdays.