Sofia Coppola Reflects on Her Negative Godfather Part III Reviews: They 'Didn't Destroy Me'

"It taught me that as a creative person, you have to put your work out there," the director and actress said

Sofia Coppola The Godfather Part III
Photo: Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Sofia Coppola is keeping it real.

In an interview with The New York Times alongside her father, Francis Ford Coppola, the 49-year-old Oscar-winning writer/director openly discussed her badly received acting debut in The Godfather Part III as Michael Corleone's teenage daughter, Mary Corleone.

Speaking candidly about the negative reviews she received for her performance in the 1990 film, Sofia admitted "it was embarrassing to be thrown out to the public in that kind of way." "But it wasn’t my dream to be an actress, so I wasn’t crushed," she continued. "I had other interests. It didn’t destroy me."

Sofia added: "It taught me that as a creative person, you have to put your work out there. It toughens you up. I know it’s a cliché, but it can make you stronger."

Sofia Coppola
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The crime film was the third and final installment in The Godfather trilogy and served as a sequel to 1972's The Godfather and The Godfather Part II from 1974.

During his conversation with the Times, Francis noted how the casting of his daughter came to be, when Winona Ryder – who was originally cast to play Mary — dropped out after she got sick once in Rome to film the final installment.

As the Times notes, the famed director, 81, considered a slew of other actresses for the part, including Madonna and Julia Roberts. But in the end, he gave the part to his daughter, who was already visiting the set while on a break from college.

"Paramount had a list of many fine actresses who were older than I felt the character should be," Coppola told the outlet about replacing Ryder. "I wanted a teenager. I wanted the baby fat on her face."

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Sofia told the Times that her decision to take on the role and help out her father came from a place of good intentions.

"It seemed like he was under a lot of pressure and I was helping out," Sofia said. "There was this panic and before I knew it, I was in a makeup chair in Cinecittà Studios in Rome having my hair dyed."

"For me, they were all my family,” she continued. "It felt very separate from the outside world."

Sofia added: "I wasn’t taking things super-seriously. I was at the age of trying anything. I just jumped into it without thinking much about it."

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Reacting to the negative reviews his daughter received for her acting debut, Francis said, "They wanted to attack the picture when, for some, it didn’t live up to its promise. And they came after this 18-year-old girl, who had only done it for me."

"The daughter took the bullet for Michael Corleone," he added. "My daughter took the bullet for me."

In September, it was announced that Francis was working on a new edit and restoration of the final installment in the trilogy, which will be available on-demand on Dec. 8.

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