The most significant question that Paramount’s mini-series, “The Offer,” asks you is how much you are willing to put at stake to achieve your goals and follow your passion. What will be that one instance where you will finally accept defeat and say that you are done chasing your dreams? Episode 7 of “The Offer,” titled “Mr. Producer,” takes us through the array of personal losses and obstacles that Bob Evans and AL Ruddy had to face while trying to make a film that nobody seemed to believe in. Their credibility was questioned at each and every stage, but call it magic or stubbornness, the producers were not ready to call it quits. They knew they were creating something great, and they believed in their capabilities. There were times when the world seemed to fall apart, but they collected the broken fragments, glued them together, and kept on going forward. In the process, they did things that were unheard of in the production business and indeed set a precedent for future generations to follow. The internal politics of the studio and the quest to find the right actor for the role of Michael Corleone, were never-ending. He had faith in his choices, and he knew that if anybody could pull off the complexities of the character of Michael, it would be this enigmatic theater actor named Al Pacino. But he was not in the line of fire. It was Al Ruddy and Bob Evans who had to make sure that they provided the correct logistics and an autonomous environment for the creativity and craft of Coppola to fully bloom.
The Horse Head, The Cat, And The Underbelly Of New York
“The Getaway” was being shot in Horizon City, Texas. Bob Evans had promised Ali MacGraw, his partner, who was starring in the film, that he would come with her, but Charlie Bluhdorn had decided to fire Al Ruddy from the post of Producer, and Bob knew he had to do some damage control. Bob was not able to give a lot of time to his relationship, and that led to Ali feeling neglected. She was having a secret affair with Steve McQueen, and Bob realized that when he reached the sets of “The Getaway,” to surprise Ali. Evans had nobody else but himself to blame. He had taken MacGraw for granted, and he knew that it would backfire eventually.
The crew was having a lot of internal conflicts. Francis was not an easy man to work with. He was not ready to compromise with his vision, and the crew, especially Gordon Willis, who was handling the lighting, was finding it hard to bear with his rude behavior. The lighting of the scene where Don Vito Corleone is meeting the visitors at the wedding was dimly lit, and Gordon was missing the spot, as the actors were improvising and moving without any cue. He enters into a heated argument with Coppola and decides to leave the film, but Ruddy somehow manages to convince him to stay on board and asks Coppola to make an apology.
Francis wanted everything to be perfect. He was not happy with the prop of the horse head as it looked too fictitious. So Ruddy asked Caesar, who handled the unions and worked for Joseph Colombo, to arrange for an actual head, because they couldn’t find anybody who could create the prop as realistically as Francis wanted. Caesar uses his contacts and gets the severed head of a real horse. Francis then needed somebody to play Luca Brasi, as the actor who was playing him was no longer available. Because the physicalities of the character were so specific, they couldn’t find any man to play it. Ruddy once again pleads with Lenny Montana, who was also one of Joseph Colombo’s men, to play the part. Ruddy was crossing every barrier and fulfilling all the peculiar demands of Francis because he knew that “The Godfather” would be a life-altering phenomenon for him and all the others who were involved.
‘The Offer’ Episode 7: Ending Explained – Did Jack Ballard And Aram Avakian Get Coppola Removed?
Barry Lapidus was always jealous and envious of the control and autonomy that Evans enjoyed. He had tried multiple times to sabotage the relationship he shared with Charlie, but Evans always found a way to get the better of him. Through Jack and Aram, he was getting his hands on the raw footage of each day, and was showing it to Charlie, so that he could turn him against Ruddy and Evans. At first, Barry questioned the craft of Pacino and whether he would be able to pull off the character of Michael Corleone. Next, they got their hands on the footage of the wedding scene where Don Vito Corleone is sitting in a dimly lit room and granting favors. The scene was looking very dull because Gordon Willis wanted to use darkness as a metaphor, and as Barry puts it, whatever Marlon Brando was mumbling was totally inaudible. Barry asks Jack and Aram to provide him with enough raw footage so that he can use it as evidence and prove the incompetence of Francis Ford Coppola. He had told both his on-set spies to be ready to handle the film once Ruddy and Coppola were fired.
Now Ruddy had to prove two things: firstly, that Al Pacino was the correct choice for the role, and secondly, the raw footage was not what the final product was going to look like. Ruddy asks Francis to shoot a scene where he can flaunt the skills of Pacino. Coppola instantly knew that the scene where Michael Corleone shoots Sollozzo would do the trick. It was a scene that marked the transformation of the character, where a war hero was now ready to get his hands dirty and take over the underworld.
Charlie Bluhdorn was a man of fickle sensibilities. It didn’t take him one moment to question even his strongest allies. He gets swayed by the footage he is shown and almost makes up his mind to fire Pacino. He needed “The Godfather” to appeal to the sensibilities of the masses, and was convinced that Pacino lacked that stereotypical menacing look that, according to him, was needed to pull off the character of a mafia leader. Charlie, together with Barry, was expecting “The Godfather” to be an action thriller, but instead, Coppola was treating it as a family drama. Charlie came on set, but little did he know that Ruddy was a step ahead, and had planned the shooting schedule accordingly. Charlie Bluhdorn gets blown away when he sees Pacino taking over the stage and displaying a vengeance that would make a dead man shiver in his grave. He was convinced that Pacino was the best man to play the character.
Evans and Ruddy showed Charlie the final edited footage of the scene that he had questioned earlier. It put an end to all the questions that were being raised regarding the credibility of Francis Coppola and Al Ruddy. Ruddy and Joe Colombo, with time had developed a strong admiration for each other. Ruddy knew that if it hadn’t been for the Mafia, the film wouldn’t have been made. Though he cherishes the bond he shares with Colombo, he realizes the perils of dealing with the Mafia. With the unwavering support of Charlie Bluhdorn, Evans and Ruddy waste no time in firing Jack Ballard and Aram Avakian, and Coppola takes charge of the ship and inches towards creating a cinematic marvel.