‘The Offer’ Director Adam Arkin Breaks Down the Finale’s Biggest Moments, From ‘The Godfather’ Premiere to the Oscars

·6-min read
‘The Offer’ Director Adam Arkin Breaks Down the Finale’s Biggest Moments, From ‘The Godfather’ Premiere to the Oscars

After a lengthy journey that involved pacifying mercurial businessmen and mob bosses, navigating tricky politics and permits, and working hard to get Francis Ford Coppola (Dan Fogler) all the talent he needed past the studio, Al Ruddy (Miles Teller) and the team finally completed and released “The Godfather” in the season finale of “The Offer.”

(Spoiler alert: This article contains details from the season finale of “The Offer.”)

The final episode of the Paramount+ limited series offered some closure all around as the film premiered to critical acclaim, went on to win several of the big Oscars, including Best Picture, and set up the journey for the sequel. But the final episode also captured some sad partings, like when Bob Evans (Matthew Goode) saw his marriage to Ali McGraw (Meredith Garretson) conclude, Bettye McCartt (Juno Temple) left Al’s employ to start her own agency, and Al parted ways with Bob and “The Godfather” franchise to move on to other creative projects, including “The Longest Yard.”

Director Adam Arkin, who helmed the finale, took TheWrap behind the scenes, discussing what went into making many of the end’s biggest moments.

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“The Godfather” Premiere

“That was a pretty magical experience,” Arkin said. “The key to that, from a technical standpoint, was finding that crane shot that then allows them to move inside and into the theater. That was a situation where we had a lot of tracks that ran from outside to inside and there were these double doors on the other side of the box office that allowed us to just take that journey with Ruddy as he gets out of the car and travels into that universe of celebration and acceptance. That was the hope — to feel in Ruddy’s mind that we were seeing him for the first time feeling like he was fully at the center of something that had that magic to it.

“And there were so many elements about that sequence that were fun to shoot. The length of that lobby — you couldn’t point your camera in any direction without seeing something that was worth filming. And to have all of the characters assembled there, I love. I loved the way it ended up. The way we were able to make use of that staircase at the end of the lobby and have all of them: Ruddy, Coppola, Puzo and Evans holding their press conference, it was a joy of a sequence to shoot and actually, for something as complex as it was … it was a night that went extraordinarily smoothly. And I think it was because everybody just kind of felt the magic of what that environment provided.”

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The 1973 Oscars

The production didn’t have the resources to recreate the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and bring in hundreds of extras, so they kept things tight, focusing in on the group of “Godfather” main players, including Al and Frances as they sat in the audience as the winners were called.

“We really wanted to find a way of shooting it that would allow you to kind of be in the headspace of the characters experiencing that rather than an onlooker and it also kept true to a premise that the whole show tried to take on which was, if you notice it, over the 10 episodes, there’s never anything from ‘The Godfather’ that is repeated verbatim,” Arkin said. “You don’t see an actual scene from ‘The Godfather.’ In ‘The Offer,’ you see all of the action leading up to it or you see the people watching it being filmed, but you never see a duplication of it.

“And again, with the Oscars, we weren’t duplicating the speeches, we weren’t duplicating things that anybody can look at on YouTube and see at the event. We were trying to live in the world of what was going on for the characters and in their own emotional state and wanted to find a way of conveying that power in a sort of impressionistic way. And because we’re dealing with multiple awards being handed out, we finally arrived at the idea that there could be almost a kind … of hypnotic repetition of the reading of the names and the emotional state of each person in their seats as they were listening to that. And it allowed us to do it in a very contained way that was achievable. I think there’s great satisfaction and feeling like it had an emotional power to it without throwing money at the problem and doing it with lots of flashing lights and hundreds of people,” he said.

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Bob and Ali’s Meeting That Ends in Divorce Decision

“I think all of us who have had heartbreak in our lives can relate to some aspects of that scene — the mistakes we make sometimes in prioritizing things that maybe need to be reordered and the price that we pay for that. Matthew [Goode, who plays Bob] is an absolutely brilliant actor. And, you know, both his jubilance, if that’s the word, getting to see her again, coming into that in such a high emotional state and then crashing down when he realizes what she’s really there for, that was sort of like the crux of that scene, and he navigated that beautifully.”

On Bettye and Ruddy Going Their Separate Ways in Business

“To be totally frank, it didn’t require a huge amount of conversation,” Arkin said of his discussions with Temple and Teller. “The script was so well written and the emotional impact of that scene was very much on the page.

“There was a kind of bittersweet energy to everything at that point and I think their appreciation of one another, both within their characters, but also personally, inform that scene. And it just kind of laid out the way it did. I love the fact that we had that staircase kind of leading up to the second floor and the raw kind of construction of that environment. It just was a kind of beautiful blank canvas to be operating within and they made use of all of that. And as is always the case when actors are in that kind of a groove and you have an environment that’s that rich, a way of shooting it starts becoming evident if people are being allowed to follow their own instincts.”

“The Offer” is streaming on Paramount+.

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