Paramount+ makes an offer that all cinephiles cannot refuse: a captivating miniseries chronicling the making of the most legendary of American films. The Offer is based on Oscar-winning producer Albert S. Ruddy’s extraordinary, never-before-seen experiences for the production of The Godfather.
The first two episodes of the series are directed by two-time BAFTA nominee Dexter Fletcher, and from the very start the narrative is gripping. The world of audiovisuals has always celebrated the behind the scenes from the perspective of actors, directors, or senior executives, but vary rarely has it tributed the role of the producer. Finally, an exquisite series about the development of Francis Ford Coppola’s cult film sheds a light on the acrobatic endeavours of the person who overseas the entire project.
In the case of The Godfather, this person is Ruddy, who worked in close contact with Paramount Studios boss Robert Evans, on the 1972 picture based on the eponymous novel by Mario Puzo. The production was particularly arduous, not only for creative differences with executive management, but also for the interference from the very mafia that threatened to derail the project. But Ruddy’s determination and perseverance led to the result that we all know about: eleven Academy Awards nominations and three wins.
The miniseries — created and written by Michael Tolkin, who also wrote Changing Lanes, Deep Impact, and Escape at Dannemora — shares the serendipity of filmmaking. The backstory of some of the gimmicks that made The Godfather so extraordinary, including the cat held by Marlon Brando in the opening scene, are revealed. Every actor of The Offer has been exceptional in homaging the iconic Hollywood characters that incarnate this tale, starting from Miles Teller playing Albert S.Ruddy and Matthew Goode in the role of Robert Evans. Juno Temple is full of charisma playing Bettye McCartt, who began her career as Ruddy’s secretary. Dan Fogler has an uncanny resemblance to Francis Ford Coppola, just like Patrick Gallo with Mario Puzo, Justin Chambers with Marlon Brando, Anthony Ippolito with Al Pacino and Frank John Hughes with Frank Sinatra. Burn Gorman is ingenious in bringing to life the Austrian-American Head of Production at Paramount Charles Bluhdorn, and equally spectacular is Giovanni Ribisi incarnating Joe Colombo, the mobster boss who created the Italian-American Civil Rights League and assisted the filming of Paramount’s movie about the Mafia.
The brilliance of The Offer is the way it captures the soul of this absolute classic of cinema. The Godfather is not a conventional gangster flick, but a powerful metaphor for family and American capitalism. Coppola’s film grasps the decadence of the American Dream, the mythic battle for control within the stars and stripes country and its failing justice system. All of this is blatant in the very opening line of the movie: “I believe in America.”
The cinematic masterpiece that defined the genre is dissected with raw empathy. The universal themes that are possessed by The Godfather — with its alternation of light and darkness — intertwine with the way the production team had to overcome a number of hurdles to bring this story to the big screen. The “heart of a lion,” Don Vito Corleone, is described as a modern “King Lear with sons instead of daughters.” In fact, the Shakespearean trait of the Oscar-winning screenplay, penned by Puzo and Coppola, determined the success of the film.
The magic of the dream factory is blazingly encapsulated in The Offer, as it shows how “film people have no separation between who they are and what they do.” They live and breathe for their craft to convey stories that inspire, move and resonate with audiences through the course of time.
“The Offer” Premieres on Paramount+ on Thursday, April 28th
Episode 1: A Seat at the Table (Available to stream: Thursday, April 28th)
Episode 2: Warning Shots (Available to stream: Thursday, April 28th)
Episode 3: Fade In (Available to stream: Thursday, April 28th)
Episode 4: The Right Shade of Yellow (Available to stream: Thursday, May 5th)
Episode 5: Kiss The Ring (Available to stream: Thursday, May 12th)
Episode 6: A Stand Up Guy (Available to stream: Thursday, May 19th)
Episode 7: Mr. Producer (Available to stream: Thursday, May 26th)
Episode 8: Crossing that Line (Available to stream: Thursday, June 2nd)
Episode 9: It’s Who We Are (Available to stream: Thursday, June 9th)
Episode 10: Brains and Balls (Available to stream: Thursday, June 16th)
Final Grade: A