I guess someone made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: Word came down from our Criterion-watching cousins over at The Hollywood Reporter this very day that Mario Puzo’s and Francis Ford Coppola’s mucho vaunted The Godfather universe – consisting of three Oscar winning films and a head-spinning litany of anti-heroes, villains and sumptuous locales – has gotten the greenlight to become a bona-fide television series. Sorta.
The exclusive to Paramount Godfather series will not, as some wiseacres have speculated, continue the saga of the Corleone family either in the past or the present, but instead will be a scripted limited series about the making of the iconic film. The new series, titled The Offer, is based off of Academy Award winning producer Al Ruddy’s heretofore untold stories about the making of the 1972 film. Mr. Ruddy was one of the chief behind the scenes architects of The Godfather, along with Puzo, Bob Evans and Mr. Coppola. The series is slated to run for a whopping ten episodes. The good news for film fans who really know their stuff is that the series is being written and executive produced by none other than Michael Tolkin who wrote what was probably one of the most irrelevant and concise looks at the behind the scenes dealings of Hollywood in Robert Altman’s The Player.
The announcement by ViacomCBS comes on the heels of CBS All Access putting The Godfather trilogy in their already expansive catalog on their streaming service this past summer. Clearly a Godfather renaissance is at hand; a few weeks back Coppola himself announced a new cut of The Godfather 3 which will get an actual theatrical release this December and for years Paramount has pushed for some use of the well-regarded trilogy of films, at one point floating the possibility of actor Leonardo DiCaprio taking on a role in the revival for what was prognosticated to be a prequel to the first film. This scripted look at the making of the ’72 movie keeps the brand current and fresh (although, in ye olde scribbler’s mind these particular flicks are timeless) and in the public eye without upsetting the purists who might otherwise look down on a continuation of the story itself.
The announcement came on top of the news that the home for this new look at The Godfather, CBS All Access, will receive a fresh coat of paint in the form of a new-ish brand name: Paramount+
In a statement, CEO extraordinaire Bob Bakish said that “Paramount is an iconic and stories brand beloved by consumers all over the world, and it is synonymous with quality, integrity and world-class storytelling. With Paramount+, we’re excited to establish one global streaming brand in the broad-pay segment that will draw on the sheer breadth and depth of the ViacomCBS portfolio to offer an extraordinary collection of content for everyone to enjoy.”
The streaming service is set to relaunch in 2021 with specifics about casting and air dates for The Offer to follow.