'Godfather' director chides Pacino, De Niro, Nicholson for being apathetic

Friday, October 19, 2007

NEW YORK -- Everyone wants to work with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson -- except Francis Ford Coppola.

Coppola -- who directed Pacino and De Niro in "The Godfather" trilogy -- says the trio of Oscar-winning actors have become apathetic.

"I don't feel that kind of passion to do a role and be great coming from those guys, because if it was there, they would do it! I mean, they're all in a position to do it," the 68-year-old filmmaker tells GQ magazine in its November issue, on newsstands Tuesday.

"Pacino always wanted to do theater. He wanted to do 'Peer Gynt.' He wanted to do Shakespeare. Pacino will say, 'Oh, I was raised next to a furnace in New York, and I'm never going to L.A.,' but they all live off the fat of the land," Coppola said.

He calls De Niro "wealthy and powerful" -- and more ambitious than Nicholson.

"I think if there was a role that De Niro was hungry for, he would come after it. I don't think Jack would," he said. "Jack has money and influence and girls, and I think he's a little bit like [Marlon] Brando, except Brando went through some tough times."

Nicholson -- a front-row regular at the Oscars and at Los Angeles Laker games -- "was always kind of a joker" and a Hollywood schmooze, Coppola said.

"He's got a little bit of a mean streak," he said. "He's intelligent, always wired in with the big guys and the big bosses of the studios."

Adds Coppola: "I don't know what any of them want anymore."

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