Ed Falco, who heads the creative writing program at Virginia Tech, is going to write a novel from an unfinished screenplay written by the late Mario Puzo.
A similar project was undertaken back in 2004, written by Mark Weingardner. His two books filled holes between Godfather 1, 2 and 3. A great idea, but I felt the author maligned what should have been a worthy complement to the original novel and subsequent movie trilogy.
Weingardner transformed the saga into a tawdry soap opera and turned powerful characters into cardboard figures. His attempt to integrate a surrogate JFK into the story defied sensibility. It’s acceptable to include a knockoff of a celebrity (i.e, Johnny Fontaine for Sinatra), but portraying the leader of the free world under a fictional name just comes across as phony. Could you imagine writing a novel set in the Civil War and substituting Lincoln with an alternate character?
His characterization of Michael Corleone lacked intensity. At least I could understand that to some degree. It would be difficult for most authors to duplicate and convey the deep calculating nature of the rising Don, portrayed so menacingly by Al Pacino.
Falco should write the prequel as if Weingardner’s works never existed. I would be willing to dismiss Weingardner’s weak offerings as a dream sequence that never happened in the compelling fictionalized world of the Godfather.