Considering “The Godfather” just celebrated its 50th anniversary and that myriad books, magazine articles and featurettes have been dedicated to its making, there shouldn’t be anything left to say about the behind-the-scenes goings-on of the 1972 classic. But Paramount+ apparently still has some tea to spill because the streamer just released a ten-episode fictionalized retelling of the cinematic masterpiece’s journey to the screen. Titled “The Offer,” the limited series was inspired by the experiences of a young Albert S. Ruddy (Miles Teller), the now 92-year-old Academy Award-winning producer who helmed the film in the early days of his career.
Created by screenwriter Michael Tolkin, who penned “The Player,” and Leslie Greif, who gave us “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “The Offer” isn’t exactly being well-received by critics. Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter even went so far as to describe it as “an illustrated Wikipedia entry stretched illogically to 10 hours by pandering to cinema fans with endless winking and nudging, and with performances that range from likably cartoonish to Madame Tussauds in a heatwave.” Ouch! Viewers certainly seem to be eating it up, though, awarding it a 92% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that “The Offer” quite compellingly showcases the harried, exciting and often unbelievable process that is movie-making. And the scenery certainly is beautiful to look at!
While “The Godfather” was lensed mainly in New York, “The Offer” was shot in Los Angeles and its environs. To create the series’ patinaed 1970s-era backdrop, production designer Laurence Bennett and his team looked to numerous local stalwarts, including Hollywood’s oldest eatery, Musso & Frank Grill, which pops up several times as one of Ruddy’s regular hangouts. Albert has a contentious meeting with Congressman Mario Biaggi (Danny Nucci) at downtown L.A.’s iconic and oft-filmed Cicada Restaurant and Lounge (most famous for being the spot where Julia Roberts tossed an escargot shell across the room in “Pretty Woman”). The legendary Studios at Paramount, which stood in for Woltz International Pictures in “The Godfather,” plays a central role in the story. And a famous residence known as the Scheimer House makes a memorable appearance as the spot where Paramount production head Robert Evans (Matthew Goode) and his girlfriend Ali MacGraw (Meredith Garretson) attend a raucous party in episode two, titled “Warning Shots.”
Purported to be located in the hills overlooking the Hollywood Sign, in truth the striking midcentury pad can be found deep in the San Fernando Valley in Tarzana, atop a secluded promontory at 18918 La Montana Pl. (Please remember this is a private home. Do not trespass or bother the residents or the property in any way.)