Al Pacino reflects on his pivotal role in ‘The Godfather’

Do you remember the scene at Marlon’s funeral, when they shot him? It was over for the evening, the sun was setting. So, naturally, I’m happy because I can go home and have a few drinks. I was on my way to my RV, saying, well, I was pretty good today. I had no lines, no obligations, it was good. Every day without lines is a good day. So I go back to my motorhome. And there, sitting on a tombstone, is Francis Ford Coppola, crying like a baby. Cry profusely. And I went up to him and I said, Francis, what’s wrong? What happened? He says, “They won’t give me another chance.” That means they wouldn’t allow him to film any other setup. And I thought: okay. I guess I’m in a good movie here. Because he had that kind of passion and that’s it.

Have you watched the movie recently?

No. I may have seen it two, three years ago. It’s the kind of movie when you start watching it, you keep watching it.

Are you embarrassed to watch your own movies?

No. I like to watch the movies in which I have acted. Sometimes I show them. I say, “Hey, come over here! It’s here! Hey, it’s me, yes! Look at this!” Well, I’m not going that far. But I would if I could. I think “The Godfather” is playing no matter what. But you’re surprised when you realize how many people don’t. have never seen.

Do you meet people who know “The Godfather” as a cultural phenomenon but haven’t actually watched it?

They heard about it. You understand. “Oh, I heard – were you into it? It was a movie, wasn’t it? Yeah. Same goes for ‘Citizen Kane,’ by the way – I was into it too. Why they don’t know.

Is there anything about your performance that you wish you could change now?

I may have been spared. It’s like when I lost my wallet in my early twenties. I’ve had no money, but what I had, I had in my wallet and I lost it. I said, Al, you just have to forget about it. Get it out of your mind, okay? You know what will happen to you if you keep thinking about it. So what I do is I don’t think about it.

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