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April 7, 2015

Puzo’s 1970 Letter to Brando Telling Him He Was the Only Actor Who Could Play Don Corleone

In 1970, before Coppola had taken the helm, author Mario Puzo scribbled and sent the following letter to Marlon Brando in an effort to cast him in the movie adaptation of his novel, The Godfather. However, the studio, well aware of Brando’s recent bad form and notoriously overbearing demands, were less enthusiastic and refused to cast him despite his immediate interest. Had it not been for Coppola later coming on board and subsequently fighting for Brando’s inclusion, Puzo’s wishes could easily have been ignored. (via Lettters of Note)

NEW YORK, N. Y. 11706

Jan 23

Dear Mr Brando

I wrote a book called THE GODFATHER which has had some success and I think you're the only actor who can play the part Godfather with that quiet force and irony (the book is an ironical comment on American society) the part requires. I hope you'll read the book and like it well enough to use whatever power you can to get the role.

I'm writing Paramount to the same effect for whatever good that will do.

I know this was presumptuous of me but the least I can do for the book is try. I really think you'd be tremendous. Needless to say I've been an admirer of your art.

Mario Puzo

A mutual friend, Jeff Brown, gave me your address

Mario Puzo pictured with Red Buttons (l) and Marlon Brando (r) on the set of The Godfather.


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