Diane Keaton Admits She Never Read ‘The Godfather’ Before Auditioning: ‘I Needed to Get Work’

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton


Diane Keaton is reminiscing about the offer she couldn’t refuse.

The Academy Award winner, 76, admitted to PEOPLE that she auditioned for The Godfather without “having ever read” the book on which the movie was based as she reflected on her career during her Hand & Footprint Ceremony Thursday at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

“I think the kindest thing that someone’s ever done for me … is that I got cast to be in The Godfather and I didn’t even read it. I didn’t know a single thing,” Keaton recalled. “I just was going around auditioning. I think that was amazing for me. And then I had to kind of read the book.”

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The Godfather Part III Diane Keaton

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She played Kay Adams-Corleone, the wife of Al Pacino‘s Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola‘s 1972 film adaptation of Mario Puzo‘s novel, later reprising the role in the 1974 and 1990 sequels.

“I think about how lucky I am. That’s what I think. And the way I think about things, like I auditioned for The Godfather, not having ever read The Godfather or caring about The Godfather or anything, because all I was doing was auditioning. I needed to get work,” she explained. “So I was there and so he had me come back and then he cast me and then Al Pacino.”

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Keaton also raved about working opposite Pacino, 82, noting that “the studio didn’t want Al Pacino at all” and only cast him after the pair had a chemistry reading together.

“So he brought Al Pacino in and we did it together and for some reason that helped them cast him. Can you imagine if [they] hadn’t cast him? So a lot of these experiences that you have come and you’re just surprised, like today, this was a surprise. This is [a] complete, utter surprise to me,” Keaton added.

The Annie Hall star was supported by friends and family at Thursday’s ceremony, including her daughter Dexter Keaton, 27, and 22-year-old son Duke Keaton, as well as her younger sister Dorrie Hall.

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“It was just one of those things in your life where you just don’t expect it and then suddenly it comes your way. And then it’s like, wow,” Keaton said of the ceremony. “I was thrilled, of course. And I still am. And to be here today is also great because I’m not frequently inside this theater and I love this theater.”

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