Robert Duvall In The Iconic Movie The Godfather As The Legendary Tom Hagen
A native of New York City, Robert Duvall is an American actor who is best known for his role in the 1983 drama film "Tender Mercies," for which he was nominated for an "Academy Award." The distinguished 'National Medal of Arts,' which he was awarded in 2005, is one of his several honors. In the late 1950s, he began his acting career in the theater, and then went on to appear in television and film roles.
His acting credits include roles in films and television programs such as "The Twilight Zone," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Godfather" film series, "The Apostle," "Apocalypse Now," and "Lonesome Dove." He is most known for his role as the narrator of the television series "The Twilight Zone."
"Academy Award," "Emmy Award," "Golden Globe Awards," and "BAFTA" are among the many honors bestowed upon him. As an executive producer and director for a number of his films, in addition to his work as an actor, Duvall has a diverse range of experience.
In addition, he is a philanthropist. With the help of his wife, Luciana Pedraza, whom he married in 2005, Robert Duvall established the 'Robert Duvall Children's Fund,' which was established in 2001. Aside from that, he is an enthusiastic supporter of a non-profit charitable organization known as "Pro Mujer."
Unlike the other Corleones, Hagen (Robert Duvall) is the Godfather's adopted son and is of German-Irish origin, unlike the rest of the family. Because he is not a biological relative of the Don, he is not in line to succeed him, despite the fact that he feels himself to be just as much a son as the other siblings. Instead, Tom is expected to take on the role of consigliere, main advisor, and legal counsel to the Godfather.
In order to help Sonny comprehend that the murder that occurs in their line of work is not personal, but rather "simply business," he gives him some harsh counsel (which Sonny refuses to listen to). As a bonus, he assists in making irresistible offers to persons such as Jack Woltz, the producer who is blocking Johnny Fontane from having a role in the film.
While Tom isn't completely devoid of morals (he's really one of the "good" people, in the grand scheme of things), he does possess a financial acumen that is a little less scrupulous than Vito's. For example, he believes that drug trafficking is a part of the future of organized crime and suggests becoming engaged rather than opposing to it in the first place. Vito, on the other hand, is not interested.
A 50th-anniversary celebration of the film version of Mario Puzo's best-selling novel. Coppola was part of the American New Wave of directors, and the picture spanned new and old Hollywood. The company put Coppola under a lot of pressure to achieve what they wanted, but he battled to keep his actors — notably Marlon Brando and Al Pacino — against corporate picks like Robert Redford and Ryan O'Neal.
Coppola "felt he was going to be fired," says Tom Hagen's actor Robert Duvall. However, Coppola stayed firm and preserved his job. The outcome was one of the greatest films ever made. It wasn't innovative in 1972, but it was then.
Coppola converted a non-Italian gangster picture into a portrayal of Italian Americans featuring performers who looked the part. However, it depicts a reality that existed in New York at the time. Coppola gave the picture a surprising tenderness and elegance to juxtapose the mob's brutality. Gordon Willis' stunning and darkly shaded photography was matched by Nino Rota's hauntingly evocative tune. Everyone on film, from the wedding guests to Luca Brasi and Mama Corleone, looked perfect.
Coppola chose Duvall to play Tom Hagen, Vito Corleone's adoptive son. Unlike James Caan's explosive Sonny Corleone, his acting is delicate and nuanced. William Reynolds and Peter Zinner recognized how to make each performance fit into a larger whole. That they considered Duvall's Hagen as memorable and effective as any of the more showy portrayals. To Duvall, who played Hagen, "He's adopted. So he couldn't cross it. I couldn't do it as an actor or a character. So glad to be part of the family."
He admired Coppola as a director: "He wants to see your stuff. Directors tell me to do this, that, and the other. But he listens and values what you offer to the table. That's his style. That's why he's a great director and performer. He wants to view your stuff. He doesn't rule." Duvall was in the mood to reminisce, first about his hometown of San Diego, then about "The Godfather."
"I grew up in Mission Hills, San Diego, and attended Grant Elementary. But I don't get that often. My father graduated from the Naval Academy at 16 and we lived in San Diego for a while. Before 'The Godfather,' we used to go to the Marine base and watch a movie for a penny. You can't do it." Duvall remarked on Zoom.
Reviewing the two, "I'm so delighted I could be a part of them," he said. "I know we're doing something very exceptional, really extraordinary," I stated halfway through "Godfather I. I've only felt it twice, and both times it was correct. It's just a sensation."
On "Lonesome Dove," he felt the same way. "That's the most iconic thing I'm contacted on," Duvall stated. ‘Boys, we're producing The Godfather of Westerns.' I recently spotted a behind-the-scenes shot of Duvall holding cue cards for Marlon Brando to read. So I questioned him about it. I think he read them to be more spontaneous and lively," Duvall remembered. "We let him look for the lines. I did it on a project. It didn't work, but I think you could do it if you knew your lines well." His favorite scene was a quiet emotional one. "The one I go to is when I tell [Vito] Sonny is dead. I recall that Brando scene. I have awful news for him." He remarked.
Paramount temporarily released "The Godfather" in theatres, and it looked stunning on the big screen. The home theater experience may not be as magnificent, but the meticulous restoration by Coppola will be worth the investment.
When Francis Ford Coppola recut The Godfather: Part III in 2020, film aficionados wondered what went wrong. While some still cited Sofia Coppola's involvement, the more apparent reason was in front of everyone. That third Godfather film lacked Robert Duvall
In The Godfather, Duvall played adopted Corleone's son and family consigliere Tom Hagen (1972). Duvall received his first Oscar nomination and numerous others for the role. (NYFC named him Best Supporting Actor.)
Duvall's exit from The Godfather III was always framed as not being paid enough to reprise his part as Tom Hagen. That is a simple fact. Duvall even labeled the producers “cheap” throughout production (via the L.A. Times).
Looking closer at Duvall's statements, it's evident he was more worried about the offer's size relative to the other actors' incomes. The film's other actors got paid more than he did, he remarked in 1990. “No way.”
The Godfather III producers didn't really want Duvall back. They should've offered a better offer. Duvall has often mentioned Coppola's visit to his Virginia home while discussing the offer. I gave him Maryland crab cakes, my mother's recipe when Coppola came to my property in Virginia to beg me to direct the film. “He phoned me a few days later. I got the idea he was more interested in the crab cake recipe than my playing the part.”
It was clear to Duvall after seeing The Godfather: Part III. The Hollywood Reporter interviewed the actor in 2010 after he had received his first six Oscar nominations. (Duvall won Best Actor for Tender Mercies in 1984.)
When asked by THR if he regretted declining the third Godfather film, Duvall was unambiguous. “No, because the other two were better,” he told Reuters. Then he repeated the story of Coppola and the crab cakes.
Ultimately, Coppola and Paramount lost. Perhaps reviewers would have paid less attention to Sofia Coppola if they had re-cast Duvall. Producers should not have replaced Duvall with an actor renowned more for his tan than his acting skills.
Al Pacino may have “won the lottery” by playing Michael Corleone in The Godfather. But for Robert Duvall, who played Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen in the 1972 Oscar winner, the role maintained a run of good luck.
The Godfather: Part II (1974) and The Godfather: Part III (1990), both of which Coppola recut and retitled as Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone in 2020.
But Duvall, who won an Oscar for Tender Mercies in 1983, says he knew the original would be a classic from the start. To promote the 4K Ultra HD release of The Godfather trilogy, he remarks, “I thought we were onto something exceptional about a third through shooting. I had that thinking once before.”
His uncompromising vision persisted in succeeding films like The Conversation and Apocalyptic Now, as well as in his recent re-imagining of The Godfather: Part III. Duvall, now 91 and still working, talked about his experience making The Godfather, his big acting debut, and why he chose to be an actor.