The Offer is the new limited series by Paramount+ based on Oscar®-winning producer Albert S. Ruddy’s extraordinary, never-revealed experiences of making The Godfather. The extraordinary cast includes Miles Teller (Footloose, Top Gun Maverick) as Albert Ruddy, Matthew Goode (Match Point, Leap Year, Medieval, The Crown) as Robert Evans, Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts trilogy) as Francis Ford Coppola, Burn Gorman (Pinocchio, Enola Holmes) as Charles Bluhdorn, Colin Hanks (American Crime Story) as Barry Lapidus, Giovanni Ribisi (Avatar: The Way of Water) as Joe Colombo, Juno Temple (Fargo, Ted Lasso) as Bettye McCartt and Anthony Ippolito (Purple Hearts) as Al Pacino.
We talked with showrunner Nikki Toscano at the last Monte Carlo Television Festival.
Nikki, what can you tell us about how this project started?
“Al Ruddy, who is played by Miles Teller, came in to speak to Nicole Clemens, who is the head of Paramount Studios. And Nicole had been approached at any time. So I’ve been told about people who have wanted to do some version of The Godfather as it was. The Godfather is one of the crown jewels of Paramount.
I think that Nicole, very quickly recognized that there was something unusual and special about Alan’s untold story. There have been many stories, about the making of The Godfather from Francis Ford Coppola’s point of view but no one from Robert Evans’s (played by Matthew Goode).
I think that she saw right away that what was so unique about our story was that it wasn’t just a behind-the-scenes making of The Godfather, but a story about a man who was not only battling the studio system, but that had to battle the real life, obviously as well.”
Is there anything that you learned about the making of that history that you didn’t know before you made this?
“Um, yeah, I mean, it was quite a bit. I knew a little bit about the casting wars. I knew it had existed, I had read some articles on that, but, you know, I had no idea, for example, that Mario Puzo and Frank Sinatra got into a real fight at Cape Cod. I’m trying to think of what else. I knew there was a parallel between fighting for creative integrity and most big business that was also happening at the same time but I didn’t realize the level of that; you know, it was 1971, 1972.”
You mentioned that The Offer is the crown jewel of Paramount. So, what was it like to film it at Paramount, at its home?
“Just incredible at all times. I mean, when you’re filming a scene that is based on the scene that was shot on the exact same stage with the exact same production design. It was just trippy.”
Do you have any other fun adding jokes from behind the scenes of behind the scenes of behind the scene that you can share?
“Sure. For example, it took a little while for Matthew to get to Los Angeles because of visa issues. I think something that was really cool was one day we were filming and it was his first day and he’s British.
And I had my headphones on, I was rewriting a scene and he came, he came and I heard him start to talk like Robert Evans and the cadence of his voice and he scared me.”
We just saw the first two episodes of the series. Can you tell us a little bit about what’s happening in the rest of the season?
“We all know, I guess the end result of the movie. I think that like The Godfather, The Offer is a story about family. And I think that what you’ll see moving forward is that this is very much a story about a family
and there’s a brotherhood that exists between Al Ruddy and Robert Evans, between Al Ruddy and Francis Ford Coppola and between Al Ruddy and Bettye McCartt in some ways. I think it’s just a fun ride. It’s very humorous; but there’s also a lot of underlying tension as Al already was, you know, battling the real-life mafia.”
So what is television, what’s the definition, and how would you define television today?
“I mean, I think right now it’s just sort of a world of possibility. When I started out, 15 or I think even 18 years ago, it was a little bit different and now there’s so much quality programming on, opportunities everywhere, not only for writers, but for filmmakers, actors, and I think more and more people are being drawn to TV because of the quality that exists.”
The Offer soon on Paramount+