Yes, The Godfather Author Really Fought With Frank Sinatra in a Restaurant

In an exclusive chat with E! News, The Offer stars Patrick Gallo and Dan Fogler unpacked wild scenes from the show that are ripped from the real-life making of The Godfather.

By Alyssa Ray Apr 29, 2022 3:00 AMTags
Watch: The Offer Stars Detail True Tussle Behind Making The Godfather

Frank Sinatra did not get a kick out of The Godfather.

This was made abundantly clear in the first episode of Paramount+'s The Offer, which debuted April 28 and takes a dramatized look at the making of the iconic film.

We're, of course, referring to the scene where Godfather author Mario Puzo (Patrick Gallo) introduced himself to Ol' Blue Eyes (Frank John Hughes) at celebrity hotspot Chasen's, only to be met with hostility over the similarities between himself and Puzo's mob-adjacent character Johnny Fontane. In a surprising turn of events, Puzo did not back down, as he attempted to stab the Hollywood icon with a fork.

What's even wilder? This scene is based on a real encounter between Puzo and Sinatra.

While Puzo noted—in a New York magazine essay from 1972—that things never got physical between himself and Sinatra, he did claim that the singer shouted "abuse" at him over the character. Pretty juicy, right? So, you can understand why creator Michael Tolkin felt the need to include this scene in the series.

And the actor who plays Puzo couldn't be more grateful about the on-camera altercation, describing the moment as "a great scene" to E! News.

The Cast of The Offer vs. the Real People Who Made The Godfather

"I remember at one point, I was doing the scene over and over, and [episode director] Dexter Fletcher came up to me and he just said, 'Listen, don't forget who you are. You're Mario Puzo. You don't have to cower in a corner,'" Gallo said of recreating this face-off. "And I was like, 'Yeah! F--k him for him to say that.' It changed the dynamic, it became this confrontation."

Paramount Pictures

Of course, this wasn't the only moment from The Godfather's history to find its way into the series. Dan Fogler, who plays Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola and joined Gallo for the E! News interview, highlighted that Coppola and Puzo did work on the script together.

"I've seen it in behind-the-scenes footage for The Godfather," Fogler shared. "In the series, there's a lot of reference to that. Which is why we are seen working together a lot of time."

Fogler called those collaboration scenes between Coppola and Puzo some of his favorite moments in the entire series.

The Offer does heighten this collaboration, however, having the director and writer hole up in a Los Angeles-based home to finish the script. In reality, for part of the process, Puzo would send drafts to Coppola, who was based out of the San Francisco area, and vice versa.

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As for his take on the Oscar-winning director, Fogler said he "really wanted to capture [Coppola's] essence" at that time.

"What he really wanted to do was direct, but he was known for his writing," he continued. "So he's got this, like, Orson Welles syndrome. He's got to prove himself. He's the smartest guy in the room, but no one believes it."

For more of Fogler and Gallo, catch new episodes of The Offer Thursdays on Paramount+.

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