VIDEO: Francis Ford Coppola Reveals He Was Nearly Fired From ‘The Godfather’

Iconic filmmaker also talks winemaking, famous relatives, and his new film "Tetro"

June 8, 2009

Francis Ford Coppola stopped by to promote his latest film, “Tetro,” and open up all about his prolific Hollywood career.

At one point, the iconic filmmaker told Howard to stop picking on his nephew Mark “The Cope” Coppola, who had been a DJ at KROCK. “Of all the relatives, he’s the sweetest one,” Coppola laughed.

Howard said he actually liked Mark and quickly turned the tables, asking if Francis ever benefitted from the so-called “casting couch.” Francis balked, claiming he met his wife very early in his career: “I never even went out with an actress.”

Howard asked Francis about his brother, August, the Coppola family’s early star, so Francis explained that he grew up in August’s shadow: “He’s a brilliant guy. He’s a professor, a dean.”

Howard declared that Francis had one-upped August by becoming the greatest director ever – just based on the strength of the first two “Godfather” movies – but Francis disputed the title, citing “The Seven Samurai” and “Raging Bull” as two films that rival his best work.

“The Godfather”

At Howard’s request, Francis briefly discussed his other pursuits, like winemaking and screenwriting. He also and broke down his “Godfather” compensation package: $75,000 and 6 percent of the net.

Francis revealed he was almost kicked off “The Godfather” set several times. “The rumor was that I was getting fired every week. They didn’t like my casting,” he called. “Even Brando was considered poison at the time … a lot of his style [was] trying to remember a line.”

Francis added he got nearly the same amount of grief for casting Vincent Gallo in “Tetro.”