Al Pacino ‘gave Star Wars actor a career’ after turning down pivotal role | Films | Entertainment

Today, Tuesday, April 25, 2023, marks the 83rd birthday of the legendary Hollywood star Al Pacino. The actor is best known for playing Michael Corleone in the epic gangster movie The Godfather, as well as the titular anti-hero in Scarface. But in the 1970s he was approached by George Lucas to join Star Wars which would go on to make almost $1 billion at the box office.

Pacino revealed earlier this month that he was approached to play the iconic Han Solo in the original Star Wars movie.

Lucas (and likely Steven Spielberg, who was also instrumental in bringing Star Wars to the big screen) apparently approached the star in the late 1970s. This was shortly after Pacino had starred in The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon.

While the actor did not want to take the role, he confirmed to Variety that they offered him “so much money” to become the scruffy-looking nerf-herder.

“I turned down Star Wars,” he confirmed. “When I first came up, I was the new kid on the block.” He noted how Hollywood was keen for him to take on almost any role available to him.

Pacino said: “You know what happens when you first become famous. It’s like, ‘Give it to Al.’ They’d give me Queen Elizabeth to play.”

On the sci-fi epic, he said: “They gave me a script called Star Wars. They offered me so much money. I don’t understand it. I read it. So I said I couldn’t do it.”

Of course, as he turned down the movie, Harrison Ford took his place. This was the American star’s first major role in Hollywood, and no doubt kickstarted his relationship with not only Lucas but also Spielberg as well.

Pacino joked: “I gave Harrison Ford a career.”

Once Ford took on the role of Han Solo in 1977, he returned for two sequels – The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983 – and later returned for the sequel trilogy in 2015’s The Force Awakens.

Shortly after starring in Star Wars for the first time, Ford joined forces with Spielberg to bring Indiana Jones to life in Raiders of the Lost Ark. From there, the star’s career exploded.

Meanwhile, Pacino barely felt dodging Star Wars. Despite the fact the picture earned almost $1 billion at the box office, he feasted off of such movies as Glengarry Glen Ross, Frankie and Johnny, Heat and Donnie Brasco.

However, he almost had a completely different career when the executives of The Godfather were not enjoying his performance as the mafia crime boss, Corleone.

Pacino explained that The Godfather’s director, Francis Ford Coppola, told him: “You know, I had a lot of faith in you. And you’re failing me.”

Pacino went on: “I’m standing there thinking: ‘What the f**k, what did I do?’”

Eventually, he filmed the scene where he killed someone, and everything changed. “The Sollozzo scene, where Michael shoots the cop. Coppola pushed that up, because he thought Paramount was about to fire me. I do the scene, they liked it, and they kept me in because I shot someone.”

You can watch all the Star Wars movies on Disney Plus now.

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