Al Pacino turned down a role in Apocalypse Now because he wasn’t in the “right space” for going away on a location shoot.
The Hollywood legend was offered the part of Captain Benjamin Willard by director Francis Ford Coppola in his Vietnam War epic, which was released to critical acclaim in 1979.
Although Pacino was flattered to be considered for the part he didn’t feel he was in the correct frame of mind to travel to Manilla in the Philippines to make the movie and so declined with Coppola going on to cast Martin Sheen in the lead role.
Speaking to the upcoming issue of Empire magazine, Pacino said: “I just wasn’t ready to do it. I was at a certain point in my life and not in the right space for going away and doing a movie like that.”
Pacino can remember Coppola making a joke that, at that time, the Serpico star only wanted to make movies he could film from the comfort of his home.
The 79-year-old actor added: “I remember Coppola saying at the time, ‘Pacino won’t do a film unless you do it at his house.’ I said, ‘Yes, come over to my place. We can do Apocalypse Now here. Look, we’ll get somewhere with it.”
In hindsight, Pacino’s decision could be viewed as a wise one as filming on the project took two years because several months into the shoot all the location sets in Manilla were destroyed by Typhoon Olga in May 1976.
Pacino and Coppola did work together on his Godfather Trilogy, starring as Mafia gangster Michael Corleone in the 1972, 1974 and 1990 movies.
Pacino can next be seen in Martin Scorsese’s crime drama The Irishman in which he stars alongside Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel.