Paramount+’s newest drama tells the story of what went on behind the scenes to make The Godfather one of the most iconic films of the century. The Offer centers on Paramount Studios producer Al Ruddy, who was only given the film because he was known for working on a tight budget.
Ruddy was up against a number of external factors. At times, he butted heads with mob boss Joseph Colombo Sr., executives from Gulf+Western—the controlling interest of Paramount Studios—who wanted to change the story, and colleagues at Paramount, who disagreed with various casting choices. Yet, by force of sheer will, Ruddy and his assistant, Bettye McCartt made the film happen, and The Offer compellingly tells their tale.
The first three episodes of The Offer premiere Thursday, April 28, and the following seven will drop once a week after that. Read on to see how The Offer actors compare to the real life figures who made The Godfather happen.
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Miles Teller as Al Ruddy
The Godfather producer Al Ruddy is the focus of this story, and series creator Michael Tolkin spent time interviewing Ruddy before starting work on The Offer. In fact, 92-year-old Ruddy serves as an executive producer on the show.
“What sealed it for me was when Al said, ‘Every day of making The Godfather was the worst day in my life,’ and that told me we had a show,” Tolkin said. “For every character in the film, getting it made or stopping it from being made was at the core of their actions, and it was a matter of life and death to them. So that’s not a gangster story, that’s a human story. That’s what gave the book and the movie so much power. Everyone is fighting for their existence.”
Matthew Goode as Robert Evans
Paramount Studios chief Robert Evans, who passed away in 2019, is known for Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, Chinatown, and, of course, The Godfather. As Evans said in 2002, “We didn’t strive for commercial. We went for original. We fell on our asses on some of them, but we also touched magic.”
Dan Fogler as Francis Ford Coppola
Director Francis Ford Coppola’s legacy is intertwined with The Godfather series. Coppola, born into an Italian immigrant family, was not Paramount’s first choice to direct the film and disagreed with the studio over casting (particularly of Marlon Brando and Al Pacino), but now, it’s impossible to imagine the film (and its sequels) without Coppola at the helm.
Burn Gorman as Charles Bluhdorn
Gulf+Western executive Charles Bluhdorn was called “The Mad Austrian of Wall Street.” Born in Vienna, Austria, he immigrated to New York at age 16, and climbed his way up the corporate ladder. He was chairman of Gulf and Western, Paramount’s parent company, as they made The Godfather, and decisions ultimately laid with him. He died of a heart attack at age 56 in 1983. The Godfather Part III is dedicated to him.
Giovanni Ribisi as Joseph Colombo Sr.
Joseph Colombo Sr. was the boss (er, the Godfather?) of the Colombo Crime Family—one of the infamous Five Families of the Italian American mafia in New York. He created the Italian-American Civil Rights League in 1970, and was the representative of the Five Families who met with Ruddy around the production of the Godfather.
When Ruddy agreed to remove any mentions of “mafia” from the script, Colombo offered his full support. During the filming of The Godfather, he was shot at a rally and paralyzed. He died seven years later at age 54.
Patrick Gallo as Mario Puzzo
Mario Puzo was the son of Italian immigrants, and published The Godfather—his best-known novel, by far—in 1969. He worked with Coppola on the screenplay for the film, and collaborated on both sequels. He died at age 78 in 1999.