This letter from Francis Coppola, director of the amazing Godfather Trilogy, to Marlon Brando, star of Part 1, trying to persuade him to come back for a second round as Vito (the part eventually played by Robert De Niro) is pretty cool.
Cooler, perhaps, is this paragraph…
“All I’m saying is that if you will be in this movie; I will do my very best to make it be good; and human, and express the notion that the Mafia is only a metaphor for America and capitalism, which will do anything to protect and perpetuate itself. (I will do this anyway, if you’re not in the film…but if you were in it, it would be better, and you would help me with your ideas as I work on the script.)”
Did you know that was the metaphor? I just thought the Mafia was a metaphor for depraved human self-interest. But maybe that’s the same thing… I guess then the Corleone family is the “America” in that system, with a refusal to compromise some principles (the Corleones wouldn’t deal drugs), but a willingness to compromise on many others… Thinking through other elements of mafia culture within that metaphor is also a pretty fascinating exercise.