On the other hand, his destiny was accomplished, thanks to the meeting with Francis Ford Coppola , at the end of the Fifties to the Hofstra University of Long Island, both in their twenties (Coppola a year old), ended up preferring the theatre group to the classes. Caan he never graduated, he left the University and started acting in some companies and get small parts in tv, his first film role (not credited) is in the film, Billy Wilder's Irma la dolce. Followed by roles in the films of Howard Hawks (red Line 700, El Dorado), Robert Altman (countdown timer), but it is the encounter with the companion studies to launch his career. The first film with Coppola is Not going back home tonight, where he played a football player who has suffered damage to the brain, thanks to this performance they began to get positive reviews and the producers began to see it from another point of view. "Until then," - said the actor on a few occasions - their belief was that if I was in a movie of that title would not have made money".
Two years later, however here is the opportunity of a lifetime, was initially supposed to interpret Michael, his name had been made alongside Robert Redford, Warren Beatty. Years after the director has told: "The production wanted to Caan as Michael and I although I loved Jimmy, I was convinced that it was not right for that role, the right character for him was Sonny". Coppola was able to force the choice to the production and the role of Michael, he went to Al Pacino. The fiery and violent Sonny seems to correspond to the character and to the character of Caan, Santino (the real name) is the eldest son of Don Vito, the one that traditionally would have had to inherit the management of the family, but it is the character angry to ensure that it is not the ideal garment and signs, the tragic fate. The nickname Sonny, "son", comes from the link the visceral with the father (which, paradoxically, is the only one not to call it that) and with family in general: is he to intervene in favor of Connie against the beatings and the betrayal of her husband. This attachment to his sister, he does fall into the trap deadly of his enemies. He is unrepentant, Sonny has an illegitimate child by a lover, historic, Lucy Mancini. James Caan in common with his character also has this appearance: in his life he had four wives, four divorces and five children.
Over the years, the actor told that often in public, the fans, and they caused to see if it would react with the same fury of his character. Just won the other roles: the sergeant, a veteran of the Vietnam Gardens of stone, or the thief, violent Streets, the writer of Misery must not die, the poker player, I play the wife.... Las Vegas or even Philip Marlowe in the Hbo. James Caan will always be Sonny Corleone. Also one of the last news seem to confirm that: confined to a wheelchair because of an operation on his back, was paparazzato while out to dinner with her younger son. After the release of the photos on some of the tabloid the actor had exploded in a tweet (later deleted) in which he spoke directly to the paparazzo: "a Fragile me? I could be already under the ground and I would be more of a man than the one who has stolen the photo of me and my son to dinner together. My wheelchair is temporary, while your tendency to scum is eternal". The carnet of the actor several titles coming, including the romantic comedy with Ellen Burstyn, not you of course knows when it will be in the room but the title has never been just right: Never too late, never too late.
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