A Virginia author has won the coveted assignment of writing the prequel for the Godfather series. The original Godfather sold between 20 and 30 million copies, and the movies made over $250 million. So when Ed Falco was approached by his editor to write the prequel, it was an offer he couldn't refuse.
"The thing I have heard since I took on this project is, 'hey I'm gonna make you an offer you can't refuse, and I see they pulled you back in,'" says Falco. "I hear that over and over again. I should have been more daunted by that than I was."
The family of the original Godfather creator, Mario Puzo, commissioned the author and Virginia Tech scholar to tell a back-story for the popular franchise. Falco got into the role by reading all of Puzo's works, but he also came to it with his own personal inspiration.
"I don't know any gangsters, I don't know any mob figures, but I know lots of strong Italian men," Falco says. "My father had seven brothers, they were a mob in and of themselves, and they were all tough guys, those are my models, I knew those guys."
And part of the fun in writing this book came from learning more about his Italian roots.
"All of the curses and exclamations in the book I grew up with," Falco says. "My father called me a gadrule all the time. I just thought I was a gadrule, whatever a gadrule was. It turns out to mean cucumber in Italian."
But the book isn't all harmless fun. Falco takes on some of Puzo's heavier themes as well. The original books are pretty cynical, Puzo seems to think that everything--government, business--that it's all cutthroat and brutal. Falco's book, however, shows some disagreement."
"One of the characters in my book says, yeah the world is corrupt to the core, but you have to act as if it isn't for the sake of your own soul," he says. "And that character is someone who I'd agree with."
Godfather fans have only two months to wait until Falco's book, The Family Corleone, is released. But, like any good crime novel, the story of this book has a last minute twist: in February, Paramount Pictures filed a suit against the Puzo estate to halt publication, claiming that the release of The Family Corleone wasn't authorized by the film studio. The case is still unresolved.