Sofia Coppola is widely considered to be one of the most unique filmmakers working right now, and she even has a much-liked new movie: On the Rocks, which reunites her once more with Bill Murray. But things weren’t always so hot for her. A lot of people’s introduction to her was in The Godfather Part III, the not-terribly-well-received threequel to what is otherwise a pretty flawless franchise. And when it came out in 1990, critics absolutely savaged Sofia, who played the teenage daughter of Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone.
Jump 30 years later, and Sofia’s father, Francis Ford, is ready to release a new cut of the film, called The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone (spoiler!). And another of its stars, Diane Keaton, has seen it and has two things to say about it: a) it’s a massive improvement and b) Sofia is, at least in this new version, really, really good.
In a new interview with Variety (in a bit picked up by IndieWire), the legendary actress says, like many, she wasn’t that into the original version. But after Francis showed her the new cut, she did an about-face.
“It was one of the best moments of my life to watch it,” Keaton said. “To me it was a dream come true. I saw the movie in a completely different light. When I saw it way back, it was like ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ It didn’t seem to do that well and the reviews weren’t great. But Francis restructured the beginning and the end and man, I’m telling you it worked.”
What’s more, even Sofia — who replaced Winona Ryder at the last minute — is pretty great. At the time, her gawky, unpolished performance was as a bad case of nepotism.
That’s not going to happen anymore,” Keaton told Variety. “She’s what a daughter would be like if you had this guy as your dad, the head of a criminal organization. She was not so sure of herself and is kind of quiet. Kind of haunted. I thought she was fantastic.”
Sofia has acted since, albeit in small roles. Did you know she has a tiny part in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace? But she transitioned into filmmaking, made a massively acclaimed feature debut with The Virgin Suicides, and the rest, as they say, is history. But maybe she’s so good in this cut that we’ll wish she’d been acting ever since, on top of making movies like Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette, etc.
The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone arrives in whatever theaters are still open on December 4 and hits VOD on December 8.