the offer

Film within a film: Miles Teller as Al Ruddy and Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola and other cast members of The Offer

Nicole Wilder/Paramount+ ©2022 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

By Sarah Deming

It was the greatest movie almost never made. From day one, The Godfather was fraught with death threats, backroom deals, epic battles, and secret plotting worthy of Shakespeare ... and that's just what happened off-screen. Now The Offer, a new 10-part limited series from Paramount+ streaming this month, treats fans to the edge-of-your-seat true story of how the future Oscar winner went from page to screen.

Here's a look at the colorful characters who helped make Hollywood history—and the talented cast bringing them to life in The Offer.

You can stream The Offer as well as all three Godfather films—parts 1, 2, and 3—on Paramount+ starting April 28. The first three episodes will be available on April 28, with new episodes to follow every Thursday.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!


Miles Teller as Albert S. Ruddy

Miler Teller sits on set in front of large krieg lights clasping his hands and wearing a black jacket and red shirt

Miles Teller as neophyte producer Albert S. Ruddy

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

What does an executive producer do? Whatever it takes to get the job done. Miles Teller stars as Academy Award-winner Albert S. Ruddy, a tech nerd who talks his way onto the Paramount Pictures lot and into the driver’s seat of their new production.

From the first days of casting, The Godfather was a minefield of bickering artists, angry executives, and real- life mobsters. Fans of Whiplash and Divergence will love watching Teller rise to each new challenge.

Matthew Goode as Robert Evans

Matthew Goode as Robert Evans wears a suit with a lavender shirt and red floral tie in front of the famous Paramount gates.

Matthew Goode as Robert Evans

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Nobody was more Hollywood than studio head Bob Evans. As a young man, he created the Evan-Picone clothing line and sold it to Revlon for millions. He revived Paramount Pictures with a string of ’70s hits including Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, Chinatown, and, of course, The Godfather.

Married and divorced seven times, Evans had a cocaine habit as legendary as his suntan. British actor Matthew Goode (A Discovery of Witches, Watchmen) turns in an outstanding performance as the brilliant and tempestuous movie mogul.

Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt

Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt leans against a door on the Paramount lot with her arms folded.

Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt

Nicole Wilder/Paramount+ ©2022 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

A visitor to the Godfather set asks Bettye McCartt what her job is. Bettye points to her boss Al Ruddy and says, “The same as his, only I get paid a lot less.” After assisting Ruddy on The Godfather and The Longest Yard, McCartt went on to enjoy a long career as a Hollywood agent, representing Tom Selleck, Billy D. Williams, and George Clooney, among many others.

British actress Juno Temple (Keeley in Ted Lasso) brings comic flair and vulnerability to her portrayal of a smart, ambitious woman trying to navigate a man’s world.

Giovanni Ribisi as Joe Colombo

Giovanni Ribisi as Joe Colombo stands next the open door of a black car dressed in a three-piece suit and tie.

Giovanni Ribisi as Joe Colombo

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Joe Colombo wasn’t your typical gangster. The son of a Brooklyn bootlegger, he rose through the ranks to become the youngest ever leader of one of New York’s “Five Families.” Not content to remain in the shadows, he founded the Italian-American Civil Rights League to protest injustice against Italian Americans. One of the League’s earliest targets was Paramount’s The Godfather. Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar, Saving Private Ryan) brings Colombo to life in all his terrifying and lovable complexity.

Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola

Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola stands amid leather furnishings in the Don Corleone office set wearing a knit hat and looking pensive.

Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola

James Minchin/Paramount+

Francis Ford Coppola didn’t want to make a gangster movie. But American Zoetrope, the company he founded with his BFF George Lucas, was $600,000 in debt. “You have to accept the job,” Lucas told him. “We have no money, and the sheriff is coming to chain up the front door.”

So what if Coppola thought the book was sleazy? “Find something in it that you like,” Lucas advised. With beard, glasses, and moody intensity, Dan Fogler (the Fantastic Beasts trilogy) is a dead ringer for the brilliant young director fighting to craft the film that will win him immortality.

Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzo

Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzo leans on a directors chair where a typewriter is perched and looks over his shoulder.

Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzo

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Mario Puzo did not want to write a gangster novel. But he had a big family to feed and $20,000 in gambling debts. So he cranked out a bloody, sexy epic about Sicilian thugs. For once, his bet paid off. The Godfather sold over 21 million copies and landed Puzo a gig in Hollywood adapting his script.

Patrick Gallo (The Irishman, Boardwalk Empire) makes a lovable Puzo, procrastinating by bingeing on lasagna while floating in a swimming pool. His chemistry with costar Dan Fogler as Coppola brings alive the legendary friendship between the two artists who shared the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Burn Gorman as Charles Bludhorn

Burn Gorman as Charles Bluhdorn stands in an alley near a fan wearing a suit and glasses and squints into the distance.

Burn Gorman as Charles Bluhdorn

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Nicknamed Hurricane Charlie, Gulf & Western founder Charles Bludhorn was famously combative, opinionated, and had a formidable head for business. The Austrian immigrant became a millionaire by age 30 and bought more than 150 companies during his lifetime. He added Paramount to the G&W roster in 1966, playing a critical role in supporting its bumpy journey from last to first place among Hollywood studios, as The Offer shows.

"The Mad Austrian" butted heads with Evans, Ruddy, and everyone else around him. Burn Gorman captures the blend of volatility, savvy, and heart that made Charlie unique. After all, this was a man who bought Madison Square Garden, hung out with Fidel Castro, went into business with the Vatican, slept two hours a night, and threatened to sue OPEC for anti-trust.

Colin Hanks as Barry Lapidus

Colin Hanks as Barry Lapidus stands in an alley on the Paramount lot with his arms folded looking over skeptically over his shoulder at the camera.

Colin Hanks as Barry Lapidus

Miller Mobley/Paramount+

Colin Hanks (son of Tom) stars as straight-aced Gulf & Western exec Barry Lapidus, a perpetual skeptic who—along with other number crunchers at G&W—made it his mission to foil The Godfather every step of the way. (He thought it was too long, too expensive, miscast, slow-moving, and would be the ruin of both Paramount and its parent company.)

No spoilers, but there's more to Lapidus than meets the eye in the first few episodes—as both Evans and viewers discover toward the end of the series.

Lou Ferrigno as Lenny Montana

Hulk smash! Fans of the original Incredible Hulk will love seeing Lou Ferrigno crush it as retired professional wrestler turned actor Lenny Montana. Montana was visiting his mother in Brooklyn when he happened upon a shoot for The Godfather. Al Ruddy spotted him in the crowd—at 6’6” and 320 pounds, he was hard to miss—and knew he had finally found the man to play assassin Luca Brasi.

It’s worth noting that Montana’s back story and the way he steps into the role of Luca Brasi unwinds a little differently in The Offer.

Meredith Garretson as Ali MacGraw

In 1972, Ali MacGraw was the hottest actress in the country. Goodbye, Columbus had launched her to stardom, and the blockbuster Love Story clinched it. But being married to Paramount’s playboy studio head Bob Evans was no walk in the park. Actor Meredith Garretson (Resident Alien) brings a mix of freshness, gravity, and believability to the role of the starlet.

More Key Players To Watch ...

Nora Arnezeder as Françoise Glazer: Owner of the fabled Chateau Marmont, Françoise is a Holocaust survivor, a tough-as-nails business woman, and Ruddy's leading lady offscreen ... until the two start butting heads over what's personal and what's strictly business. French actor and singer Nora Arnezeder (Army of the Dead) brings strength and elegance to the role.

Justin Chambers as Marlon Brando: Although considered one of the greatest actors of all time, Brando was notoriously unpredictable on set. It took all Coppola’s powers of persuasion, and a $1 million bond by Brando, to convince the brass to hire the eventual Academy Award winner. Big shoes to fill for Justin Chambers, but the Grey’s Anatomy veteran has plenty of star power of his own.

Anthony Ippolito as Al Pacino: The studio might have balked at Brando, but that was nothing compared to the campaign against Pacino. He was a rising star in New York theater, but nearly everyone seemed set against against casting the "shrimp." (Even Pacino thought he’d be better off playing Sonny.) Coppola and Ruddy fought hard to get Pacino the part that would make him a household name. Anthony Ippolito (Grand Army) does a masterful job conveying Pacino's shy charm and hesitancy at the outset—and his chameleon-like ability to morph into the formidable Michael Corleone of movie fame.

You can stream The Offer as well as all three Godfather films—parts 1, 2, and 3—on Paramount+ starting April 28. The first three episodes will be available on April 28, with new episodes to follow every Thursday.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

Promotional poster for the new Paramount+ series The Offer, using a font and logo inspired by original art from The Godfather

Sarah Coulter/Paramount+ (C) 2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

By Kathy Passero

Paramount+ just made you an Offer you can’t refuse …

Fans of The Godfather know all the classic lines and characters, but the behind-the-scenes story about making the movie is as electrifying as the Corleone saga itself—and just as full of colorful characters and danger. It’s the subject of the riveting new Paramount+ series The Offer, streaming starting April 28.

Based on the recollections of Academy Award–winning producer Albert S. Ruddy, the 10-episode series marks the 50th anniversary of the first Godfather movie, the star-making classic that broke box office records, helped save the studio, and became a film legend.

All three original Godfather films will also be available on Paramount+ starting on April 28. Are you due for a Corleone-family refresher? To help put your memory through its paces, here’s a quiz to test your knowledge of the original film.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

Stream The Offer exclusively on Paramount+ starting April 28. The first three episodes will be available on April 28, with new episodes to follow every Thursday.

1) When we meet Michael Corleone at the beginning of the film at his sister Connie’s wedding, he has just returned from serving in what branch of the military? Bonus: What war did he serve in?

A) Army

B) Navy

C) Marines

D) Air Force

You'll find the answer below the next question.

2) Why are so many wedding guests lining up to see Don Vito Corleone privately in his office during Connie’s wedding?

Don Corleone sits in his study wearing a tuxedo and petting a cat as he listens intently to a visitor

Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) on his daughter's wedding day

Giphy


A) To pay their respects

B) This is the only chance they have for a face-to-face meeting with him

C) Sicilian tradition dictates that he can’t refuse any favor on his daughter’s wedding day

D) All of the above


Answer to question 1: C) Marines. Michael is a decorated veteran. The ribbons on the uniform he wears at the wedding indicate that he served in both the European and Pacific theaters in World War II and won the Silver Star as well as the Purple Heart.

3) Why doesn’t Don Corleone want to go into business with The Turk? Bonus: What is The Turk’s real name?

\u200bAl Lettieri as The Turk in a business suit

Al Lettieri as The Turk

Giphy


A) There was bad blood between them from their early days in Sicily

B) The Turk’s business is narcotics and Don Corleone doesn’t want to get involved

C) Don Corleone doesn’t want to cross the other families and start a war

D) The Turk shows a lack of respect


Answer to question 2: D) All of the above, but mostly C) Sicilian tradition dictates that he can’t refuse any favor on his daughter’s wedding day. Luca Brasi is the only visitor who doesn’t ask for a favor.

4) What is the name of Don Corleone’s driver who calls in sick, setting him up for a hit? Bonus: Who was his fill-in driver and what was the Don buying when he got shot?

\u200bFredo weeps in the street.

Fredo weeps in the street.

Giphy

A) Bruno Tattaglia

B) Luca Brasi

C) Carlo Rizzi

D) Paulie Gatto

Answer to question 3: B) The Turk’s business is narcotics and Don Corleone doesn’t want to get involved. The Turk’s real name is Virgil Sollozzo.

5) Who comes to the hospital to visit Don Corleone and gets enlisted by Michael to stand on the steps and pose as an armed protector. Bonus: What is the character’s actual profession?

MIchael leans over his father in his hospital bed to reassure him.

Michael visits his injured father in the hospital.

Giphy

A) Enzo

B) Fabrizio

C) Neri

D) Stracci


Answer to question 4: D) Paulie Gatto. Gatto called in sick, so Fredo was driving his father. Vito Corleone was buying a bag of oranges from a street vendor when he got shot. Clemenza gets revenge on Paulie for the betrayal later in the movie, after uttering the famous phrase, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” By the way, actor Richard Castellano ad-libbed the cannoli part. It was never in the script!

6) When Vito Corleone says “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse,” who is he referring to? Bonus: What does the offer relate to?

Corleone family lawyer Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) gets up from the dinner table after a meeting.

Always cool and collected, Corleone family lawyer Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) gets up from the dinner table after a meeting.

Giphy

A) Jack Woltz

B) Barzini

C) The Turk

D) Sergeant McClusky

Answer to question 5: A) Enzo. The baker was coming to pay his respects to Don Corleone for having straightened out his visa and preventing him from getting deported.

7) Where does the fateful meeting between Michael, McClusky, and The Turk take place? What dish does The Turk recommend?

A silent Michael listens to the Turk as they prepare to dine with Sergeant McClusky.

Michael faces down The Turk and McClusky over dinner.

Giphy

A) Jack Dempsey’s Restaurant

B) Louis’ Restaurant

C) Nardone’s Restaurant

D) Luca’s Restaurant


Answer to question 6: A) Jack Woltz. Singer Johnny Fontane desperately wants a part in Woltz’s new movie and asks Don Corleone for help getting it. The producer has a grudge against Fontane and doesn’t want to cast him.

8) What are the names of Michael’s bodyguards in Sicily?

Michael with one of his bodyguards in the Sicilian countryside

Michael in Sicily with one of his bodyguards, after being struck by "the thunderbolt" of seeing his future wife Apollonia

Giphy

A) Ciccio and Andolini

B) Fabrizio and Calo

C) Enzo and Angelo

D) Francesco and Mario

Answer to question 7: B) Louis’ Restaurant. When the trio arrives at this family-owned eatery in the Bronx, The Turk tells McClusky to “Try the veal. It’s the best in the city.”

9) What is the legitimate “front” business of the Corleone family?

An older Vito Corleone in his garden talking to Michael with a glass of red wine nearby

Don Corleone talks with Michael

Giphy

A) Trucking

B) Wine Making

C) Olive Oil

D) Waste Disposal

Answer to question 8: B) Fabrizio and Calo. Both were hired by local Don Tommasino to protect Michael. Fabrizio betrays him with an assassination attempt that kills Michael’s wife, Apollonia.

10) Name the five enemies Michael has killed when he settles all family business on the day Connie’s baby is christened?

A young Michael in his father's office

MIchael utters one of his most famous phrases.

Giphy

Time to put away childish things. No multiple choice here. Scroll down to see if you remember which scores were settled.

Answer to question 9: C) Olive Oil. Genco Pura Olive Oil Company is the legitimate front for the Corleone family’s shadier business dealings. Near the end of the first film, Michael tells Moe Greene that the family is thinking of giving up its interests in the olive oil business and moving to Las Vegas.

Watch The Offer and All Three Godfather Films on Paramount+ This Month

Key members of the cast of The Offer in the poster for the new Paramount+ series

Giovanni Ribisi as Joe Colombo, Miles Teller as Albert S. Ruddy, Juno Temple as Bettye McCartt, Matthew Goode as Robert Evans, Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola, and Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzo in the official key art of the Paramount+ original series The Offer

Sarah Coulter/Paramount+ © 2022 ViacomCBS. All Rights Reserved.

Answer to question 10: Barzini, Tattaglia, Cuneo, Stracci, and Moe Greene. Clemenza kills Carlo Rizzi shortly after the christening.

If you remembered the whole hit list—and got the rest of the answers right—all we can say is: Congratulations, capo dei capi! You're a real boss when it comes to The Godfather. We know you won't want to miss a minute of The Offer. Keep your eyes and ears open for the many Godfather Easter Eggs hidden throughout the new series.

You can stream The Offer as well as all three Godfather films—parts 1, 2, and 3—on Paramount+ starting April 28. The first three episodes will be available on April 28, with new episodes to follow every Thursday.

SUBSCRIBE NOW: Enjoy 4 Digital Plus 2 Print/Digital Issues Of Watch Per Year — For Free!

MOST POPULAR

By viewing our video content you are accepting the terms of our Video Services Policy.
© 2019 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.