The Godfather

2 Casting Changes Would Have Made The Godfather Part III Totally Different

The Godfather Part III doesn't have the best reputation, but two casting changes that almost came to fruition would have made it that much better.

The Godfather Part III has a much worse reception than its predecessors, but it could have been much better with two casting changes. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II are considered two of the greatest movies of all time. They tell a harrowing story about the Corleone family’s mafia dealings, and are full of powerhouse performances from multiple Academy Award winners. Although The Godfather Part III sees most of the original actors returning and filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola once again in the director’s chair, it was not anywhere near as well received as the first two movies.

While the film enjoys a better reputation now, especially after the new cut of The Godfather Part III, renamed The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, it still has shortcomings that are impossible to overlook. One of the most jarring criticisms is its casting, and while Robert Duvall did not return as Tom Hagen, that was the least of Coppola’s problems when it came to the legacy sequel’s cast. Coppola could have avoided this problem if he had not replaced one actor, while another potential casting decision could have wildly changed the tone of the whole movie.

Winona Ryder Almost Played Mary Corleone In The Godfather Part III

Winona ryder sofia Coppola Mary Corleone Godfather part 3

Sofia Coppola’s Mary Corleone has a major role in The Godfather Part III, and her death at the end of the 1990 movie acts as the ultimate punishment for all of Michael Corleone’s sins. While her murder is a huge gut-punch and comes out of nowhere, the character’s other scenes are underwhelming, and that is mostly down to Coppola’s wooden performance. Sofia Coppola has become a great director in her own right, but had very little acting experience, and thrusting her into a main role in The Godfather Part III was one of the worst casting choices of the 1990s.

However, Coppola playing Mary was not the original plan, as Winona Ryder was first cast, and even flew to Rome to shoot just one day after wrapping production on another film. Unfortunately, Ryder dropped out of The Godfather 3 due to health issues. If Ryder did star in the mob movie sequel, it could have enjoyed a much better reception. The performance would undoubtedly have been infinitely better than Sophia Coppola’s, as Ryder was effortlessly delivering great performances one movie after another in the late 1980s, most notably in the cult classics Beetlejuice and Heathers.

Nicolas Cage Almost Played Vincent Corleone In The Godfather Part III

Vincent shoots a home invader in The Godfather Part III

Ultimately played by Andy Garcia, Vincent Corleone also came close to having a wildly different actor. Nicolas Cage almost played Vincent, Sonny Corleone’s son, in The Godfather Part III, as the actor, also Coppola’s nephew, begged the director for the role. Unlike Sofia Coppola, however, Garcia was widely praised as Vincent, and he was even nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Cage’s portrayal of the character would have been vividly exciting and a lot closer to Vincent’s hotheaded father. The two actors have totally different methods of acting, but Cage’s “nouveau shamanism” would have turned Vincent into a more maniacal figure. This, combined with Winona Ryder as Mary, would have completely shifted the tone of The Godfather Part III.

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