Failure to act: Coppola disses Pacino, De Niro & Nicholson
[size=80]Thursday, October 18th 2007, 4:51 PM [/size]
Francis Ford Coppola disses Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson and Al Pacino in a surprising critique of three of America’s greatest actors.
No slouch himself, Coppola directed Pacino in “The Godfather” and Pacino and De Niro in “Godfather II,” and was uncredited when directing Nicholson in the Roger Corman horror flick "The Terror."
But in the new GQ magazine, Coppola reveals that he’s disappointed in the three as they’ve gotten older â€” and richer.
“I met both Pacino and De Niro when they were really on the come,” Coppola tells GQ’s Nate Penn. "They were young and insecure. Now Pacino is very rich, maybe because he never spends any money; he just puts it in his mattress. De Niro was deeply inspired by (Coppola’s studio American) Zoetrope and created an empire and is wealthy and powerful.
"Nicholson was â€” when I met him and worked with him â€” he was always kind of a joker. He’s got a little bit of a mean streak. He’s intelligent, always wired in with the big guys and the big bosses of the studios.
"I don’t know what any of them want anymore. I don’t know that they want the same things. Pacino always wanted to do theater … (He) will say, ‘Oh, I was raised next to a furnace in New York, and I’m never going to go to L.A.,’ but they all live off the fat of the land."
Not one of the actors would comment (De Niro and Pacino were on the set of Jon Avnet 's crime drama “Righteous Kill”).
Some might ask Coppola how he has challenged himself lately. He admits he has been focused on his vineyard and on his resorts in Belize and Guatemala. He’s coming out with an art film, “Youth Without Youth,” for the first time in 10 years, a period when he has mostly executive-produced daughter Sofia 's pictures and, ironically, De Niro’s “The Good Shepherd” last year.
"I think if there was a role that De Niro was hungry for, he would come after it. I don’t think Jack would. Jack has money and influence and girls, and I think he’s a little bit like (Marlon) Brando, except Brando went through some tough times. I guess they don’t want to do it anymore.
“You know, even in those days, after ‘The Godfather,’ I didn’t feel that those actors were ready to say, ‘Let’s do something else really ambitious.’ A guy like (38-year-old “Before Night Falls” star) Javier Bardem is excited to do something good: ‘Let me do this’ or ‘I’ll put stuff in my mouth, change my appearance.’ I don’t feel that kind of passion to do a role and be great coming from those guys, because if it was there, they would do it.”