In that recently-posted Deadline interview between Mike Fleming and Francis Coppola, the 80-year-old director briefly tears into author and former Premiere editor Peter Biskind, claiming unfairness on Biskind’s part in a 1990 piece about The Godfather, Part III, especially regarding Sofia Coppola‘s performance as Michael Corleone’s daughter.
Fleming: “You took some heat casting your daughter Sofia, who has become a fine filmmaker in her own right. Was it right to put so much pressure on her, when she was untested?”
Coppola: “Well, I felt betrayed by a journalist by the name of Peter Biskind. And Tina Brown. I was asked if a journalist could come to the set and report on the movie, but Peter came in with a story all ready to write because he knew that there was a controversy about the fact that I had cast Sofia. He’s the one [who] came out with the article first that sort of greatly criticized her performance and started that whole trend, that I had cast my daughter when Paramount didn’t want me to.
“I felt that the plot of Godfather III was that they were coming for Michael but they got her. And [in the press] they were coming for me but they chose Sofia. I don’t have malice against anyone at this point in my life, but, to this day, it upsets me that Peter Biskind was the one who was given access to the set and he used it to damn my daughter. I believe that in a new [forthcoming] version of the film (to be titled The Death of Michael Corleone), Sofia’s performance will vindicate her.”
Biskind replies: “Francis would be better served resting on his considerable laurels than nursing old grudges. So far as Sofia is concerned, it’s nice to see the Lion King spring to the defense of his cubs, but generally I like her films, and don’t recall maligning her. Besides [Francis and I] were supposed to have kissed and made up 20 years ago when he publicly forgave me for my sins. This reminds me of Godfather II, when Michael forgives Fredo and then has him killed.”