James Caan Got “Aggressive” Filming “The Godfather,” Co-Star Claimed

James Caan Got “Aggressive” Filming “The Godfather,” Co-Star Claimed

Following the loss of life of James Caan on July 6, followers are wanting again on his main film roles and, after all, that features 1972’s The Godfather. Within the basic, Caan performs Sonny Corleone, the oldest son of Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), and he has a number of memorable scenes, together with one during which he beats up his brother-in-law, Carlo performed by Gianni Russo.

Now, relying on who you ask, you will get a distinct story concerning the pivotal scene. In line with Russo, Caan really fought him throughout filming, inflicting some accidents. Caan, alternatively, has denied this, however did admit to improvising one a part of the struggle scene. Learn on to see what each actors have needed to say concerning the dustup.

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James Caan and Gianni Russo filming
Bettmann / Getty Photographs

In an interview with Folks and Leisure Weekly Community in 2017, Russo claimed the struggle between him and Caan in The Godfather was extra actual than many would possibly assume.

“We choreographed that scene for a couple of day and a half,” Russo stated. “Jimmy acquired a bit aggressive, I’d say, and he improvised just a few issues like that little billy membership he threw at me after I got here off the stoop. He hit me proper within the head with that, after which he throws me over the railing and he is biting my fingers… After which after I crawl out, he actually lifted me up along with his kick. Now, we had all of it timed, none of that was presupposed to occur.”

Russo added, “I believed perhaps he acquired carried away. With this being my first movie, I did not need to complain … He chipped my elbow with the rubbish pail cowl and he broke two ribs. Jimmy and I usually are not associates in any respect, consider me. The man’s nuts.”

Gianni Russo in
Paramount Photos

In the identical interview, Russo stated, “Sonny and I had an issue all by means of the film, on and off the set.” He stated that he thinks it upset Caan that he had extra of a connection to the Harlem neighborhood the place they filmed the scene. “I knew the neighborhood and everyone within the neighborhood knew me, and I feel that pissed Jimmy off additionally,” he stated.

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Gianni Russo with his book at East Hampton Library's 15th Annual Authors Night Benefit in 2019
Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Photographs

In his 2019 e book, Hollywood Godfather: My Life within the Films and the Mob, Russo tells a narrative of Caan supposedly enjoying a prank on him by getting him to insult an actual gangster. In an excerpt printed by Males’s Journal, Russo says that Caan instructed him to go say hiya to the gangster and his daughter—solely he wasn’t along with his daughter, he was with a lady he was seeing.

“Your daughter is gorgeous, Junior. You have to be very proud,” Russo says he instructed him.

This led to Russo practically getting beat up, in line with his story. “That son of a [expletive] Caan had set me up, understanding that girl wasn’t Junior’s daughter,” he writes. “I used to be fuming. If this was Caan’s concept of a joke, I wasn’t laughing, and if I used to be going to get my [expletive] kicked, I used to be going to do likewise to Caan—after I acquired out of the hospital.”

James Caan in 'The Godfather"
Paramount Photos

In a March 2022 story on the 50th anniversary of The Godfather by The Hollywood Reporter, Caan addressed Russo’s declare that he really beat him up.

“He had a struggle with another person. Not me,” Caan stated. “I did the struggle scene with stuntman Paul Baxley. He got here in, and we made up the entire struggle. And every part you noticed in there’s something that Paul and I created the day earlier than.”

James Caan at the Hallmark Summer 2016 TCA Press Tour Event
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

In a March 2022 interview with the New York Put up, Caan did say that there was one a part of the struggle scene that was improvised.

“The stick I threw at [Carlo] when he is working away, that wasn’t within the script,” Caan stated. “I took a type of industrial brooms and minimize the tip off and put it below my seat [in the car as Sonny drives up to confront Carlo]. They stated, ‘It isn’t within the script’ and I stated, ‘What the [expletive]’s the distinction, simply put it down there.’ I swear to God I had no concept what I used to be going to do with it, however I knew that is what a variety of guys did in my neighborhood. We referred to as them ‘perspective adjusters.'”

He continued, “I simply grabbed it and fired [the stick] at him and [director] Francis [Ford Coppola] stated, ‘That is nice, Jimmy, you appeared such as you had been going to overlook him.’ So he is mendacity behind the automobiles on the opposite facet and by chance, on the upswing, I caught him on the highest of the coconut.”

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James Caan and Gianni Russo's fight scene in "The Godfather"
Paramount Photos

Caan and Russo clearly had their totally different opinions on what went down throughout the scene, however there’s one facet that everybody can agree was pretend. At one level, Caan throws a punch at Russo that misses his face by such a large margin, it may’t go unnoticed by the viewer. In fact, Caan wasn’t really presupposed to hit his co-star, but it surely does not take a look at all actual.

“That one miss when he throws that punch at me and I react… everyone is aware of [the punch is actually] about six inches away from me,” Russo instructed Folks and Leisure Weekly Community. “I requested Francis Ford Coppola on the 25th anniversary, ‘Why did not you repair that?’ As a result of we had cameras on the roof, cameras throughout. We had each angle they wanted to repair it, however they could not contact it. When you win an Oscar, you possibly can’t contact that destructive.”

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Written by Harry Rosen

Harry Rosen is an accomplished explorer, photographer, creative director, speaker, and author.

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