RORY: Oh, we have to rent Godfather 3 on DVD.
LORELAI: You’re kidding.
RORY: In the audio commentary, Coppola actually defends casting Sofia.
The Godfather Part III, the 1990 crime film that is the third of the Godfather films, previously discussed. Although packaged as a trilogy, director Francis Ford Coppola himself considers the first two films a duology, and the third film as their sequel.
The film was a commercial success and received positive reviews, although it is generally regarded as a lesser work than the first two. Critics praised Al Pacino and the screenplay, but criticised the convoluted plot, and Sofia Coppola’s performance as Mary Corleone, Michael’s daughter. It is the only film in the franchise not to win any major awards, while Sofia Coppola received two Razzies for Worst Supporting Actress and Worst New Star.
Francis Ford Coppola answered his critics by writing a letter to the New York Times in 1991, and in several interviews. Sofia was not his first choice for the role, but Winona Ryder had arrived late on set so exhausted from filming Mermaids that doctors advised she be sent home to recover. With no other suitable actresses, and filming already delayed by Ryder, he decided to cast Sofia as she was the perfect age and already knew the script. Furthermore, he had originally based the character of Mary on Sofia.
In 2019 while promoting the 2020 director’s cut of the film, Francis Ford Coppola insisted that Sofia may not have been a professional actress, but she was beautiful, touching, and authentic. His defence of his daughter has remained ongoing and heartfelt – way more than just one remark on the DVD audio commentary.
It’s interesting that in an episode where Lorelai hears from Christopher, hoping to see Rory, it opens with a mention of a Godfather film, and a fond father. Not only that, it is Rory who wants to watch the film specifically so she can listen to the audio commentary of Coppola’s defence of his daughter Sofia.