At noted there are two making of The Godfather scripts on the Black List — Terry Clyne‘s I Believe in America and Andrew Farotte‘s Francis and the Godfather. There’s no question in my mind that Clyne’s is the superior work — cleaner, simpler, more compelling. But Farotte’s has a better chance of being made, I’m told, because CAA is representing it and is better positioned to cope with all the rights issues while Clyne’s script has no producer and no agent — just a manager representing Cline. David vs. Goliath.
To make either film a producer would have to get the rights individually from everyone in the script (Evans, Coppola, Pacino, et, al.) to proceed with any aspect of development or production. This is creatively a challenge as living characters always want creative control over their depiction — any depiction — which is not possible to give and still make a movie. And they will each want a lot of money. Each deal also has to be negotiated individually. I think Coppola is still repped by CAA so they probably already have his tentative approval on Francis and the Godfather along with Pacino, et al. And CAA will automatically prevent any other script in the marketplace from moving forward because they probably already control some of the necessary individual rights.
I got in touch with Clyne last weekend and was in the process of tapping out some questions when a small bomb went off. I realized that producing an animated version of I Believe in America is probably the only viable way to go, as even a first-rate, live-actor organic recreation of this tale would be seen as a dilution or even a slight desecration of the original players & their histories. But a hip animated version (rotoscoped?) would blend right in with the Godfather mythology without subtracting or compromising it. Some of the originals could even theoretically perform their own dialogue. Exciting, different, kind of brilliant. And sure to be popular. Every film lover in America would want to see it. It could really be something.
It’s too bad Wes Anderson is tied up with a new stop-motion project as he’d be perfect to helm an animated version of Clyne’s script.