Elle Fanning joins Francis and The Godfather as Ali MacGraw
Nearly a month after adding Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale) to its ensemble roster, Barry Levinson’s Francis and the Godfather has expanded its cast with the addition of Golden Globe nominee Elle Fanning (The Great), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The film, which has shifted from being titled as Francis and The Godfather to untitled and back again, is based on a Black List script written by Andrew Farotte, which was redeveloped by Levinson. Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina) will play the role of The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola with Oscar nominee Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Brokeback Mountain) portraying producer Robert Evans and Moss set as Francis Ford Coppola’s wife Eleanor.
Fanning, coming off of her acclaimed work on the Hulu period dramedy that was recently renewed for a second season, is set to star as Golden Globe winner Ali MacGraw, who at the time of development on the crime epic was married to Paramount Pictures’ head of production Evans.
Coppola was 31 at the time of developing the film, determined to convince Evans and the studio to allow him to shoot expensively in New York, set in the time period of a novel which would become a big bestseller. This after the original Mario Puzo script was set in contemporary Kansas City. Among the other debates was the idea to gamble on Marlon Brando, an eclectic character who hadn’t been in a hit film in years, to play mob family patriarch Don Corleone (for which he would win the Best Actor prize), and also Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, a character who slowly evolved from a desire to get far away from the family business to taking it over when it was clear his father would be murdered even after a bungled assassination attempt. Evans, who took the top job after a career as an actor, had pressures all his own, as the studio was in danger of closing up shop. There was also the uneasy discussions with real mobsters who were none too pleased to have their dirty business to be aired in a major studio film.
Coppola reportedly gave his approval for Francis and the Godfather, saying: “Any move that Barry Levinson makes about anything, will be interesting and worthwhile!”
The film will be directed by Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Bugsy, Dopesick). Echo Lake Entertainment’s Mike Marcus, Doug Mankoff, and Andrew Spaulding will produce along with Kevin Turen, Jon Levin, and Baltimore Pictures’ Jason Sosnoff.
Moss is best known for her role as Offred/June in Hulu’s series adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s classic novel The Handmaid’s Tale which had earned her two Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress. She recently starred in Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man and Josephine Decker’s Shirley film. Moss will next be seen in Wes Anderson’s star-studded dramedy The French Dispatch and Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins.
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