One of James Caan’s Godfather co-stars has given a scathing interview about the late actor, making wild claims about a violent on-set fight.
The Godfather actor Gianni Russo has absolutely slammed the late James Caan in a new interview after his death.
In a scathing interview with The Post, 78-year-old Russo said he had no contact with Caan, who died Friday aged 82, once filming on the iconic 1972 film wrapped.
That is, until Caan wanted a part in Russo’s 1999 movie, Any Given Sunday.
Russo, who helped produce the football drama, said he got a call from Caan’s agent while they were casting.
“He [Caan’s agent] said, ‘You know, Jimmy would be great in this movie. He’s a great sports buff,’” Russo said of the Al Pacino-led flick, in which he had a supporting role.
“I said, ‘Do you think I would hire James Caan? I wouldn’t give Jimmy Caan a part in anything.’ He was so rude to me.”
Russo claims that Caan, who played Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, the brother-in-law of Russo’s character Carlo Rizzi, was not friendly toward him from the very first rehearsal.
“The biggest thorn in his side was, ‘Who’s Gianni Russo?’ He was never nice to me from day one. But [at the time] I’m thinking he was in character cause he’s a thespian,” Russo said.
Russo also claims that Caan went too far in one of the film’s fight scenes, in which Sonny pummels Carlo for hitting his sister.
Although Russo said that a stunt double was used, particularly when Carlo was thrown over a railing, he also acted out parts of the scene and claims he was badly injured by Caan.
“That’s me. He’s biting my hand. He’s banging my elbow with that steel garbage pail. He chipped my elbow,” Russo said. “When I crawled out and he lifted me in the air, he broke two of my ribs, which was not in the rehearsal. That was me laying there.”
Caan never admitted to hurting his co-star, claiming that he worked with a stunt double that day.
But Russo added: “He discredits me even doing the scene. Unfortunately, we’re talking about a guy that’s dead, and to his dying day, that’s his story. He took it to his grave as we would say.”
Russo, who was 27 when he was cast, said it didn’t help that he had ties with real-life mobsters such as Frank Costello, Joe Colombo and Carlo Gambino. He suggested Caan became competitive because he “fell in love with mobsters.”
“Because he’s [Caan] hanging around with mob guys, like Carmine Persico, and mob guys all know me already. I came from Mulberry Street, how do you live on Mulberry Street and not know mob guys?” Russo said.
“Til the day he died, he thought he was a mobster. He thought he was Sonny Corleone.”
This story originally appeared on New York Post and was reproduced with permission
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