GL: I’m still trying to digest the fact that you passed up a role in The Godfather.
TC: I was offered a spot in both The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. To play Luca Brasi in the first one, and the Mafioso boss who gets killed on the stairs at the opening of the second one. But I didn’t do either show, because if I had, I woulda been just like any other actor – out for the money. Francis [Ford Coppola] wanted me on the show, but I kept saying no. To get out of going to New York, I kept saying I wanted more money, and they got tired of it, I guess…
GL: What kept you out of Godfather Part II?
TC: I went to talk to Francis at Paramount. I already had the part, but I still wanted to do a scene. Francis and his pals were sitting around his office and I brought a box of cannolis and Italian pastries as gifts. I said, “I brought you this gift to pay respect to my friends,” and I reached down into those dripping cannolis and pulled out a gun – boom boom! – and blew the hell out of all of them. And then I shot myself and staggered over and fell on [producer Fred] Roos’s desk – all the contracts went flying. And Coppola grabbed my blank gun and shot me back – bang bang! – like a kid. It was byootiful – I took ’em completely by surprise. Francis was stunned, “How much do you want?” But Roos didn’t like it, so he went to work and influenced Coppola against me.
One guy, a little guy, was sitting there watching everything. A young kid with a camera, but he wasn’t filming. He just sat there with a mean, kind of miserly . . . I could tell he was afraid by the lines on his face. Like he needed two inches of Chinese tonic. It was Martin Scorsese, somebody said.
– “Cracked Actor,” Film Comment Jan/Feb 2004; interview conducted in 1992 by Grover Lewis
An absolutely fantastic site. I’ve been enjoying the acting exploits of Tim Carey for about 40 years. In the late 70s I saw him for two straight nights in Berkeley when he presented The World’s Greatest Sinner and Tweet’s Ladies of Pasadena. Tim was wired both nights. A ham in the best sense of the word – no pretensions; just an ingrained enthusiasm in performing. Kubrick and Cassavetes knew how to use Tim to great effect, whereas with lesser directors, he ran roughshod over them. Of course those are the times when we love Tim the most – with his schtick in BAYOU (aka, Poor White Trash) topping the list. However, let’s not forget his small roles in Crime Wave and Fingerman, where you can’t take your eyes off of him wondering what he is going to do next, much to the director’s chagrin.
I hope you are successful in your book project. If you ever think of making it a TC anthology where you’d want contributors, there are a few of us that would welcome the opportunity to contribute.
Wow – thank you so much! You saw Tim live?? Ohhh, how envious I am…. An anthology is an absolutely wonderful idea! I’m going to be meeting up with Romeo Carey this summer to talk more about the book, and I will definitely bring up that possibility. In the meantime, I would certainly welcome guest bloggers if they have something to share! I will make a post about that later today. Again – thank you ever so much!
When Tim was in Berkeley I was close enough to him to reach out and touch. Never did talk to him. At least with Russ Meyer’s appearance during that era I had at least a chance to say a few words to him. I’m about 6’1″ but it seemed Tim towered over me. I’d guess he was 6’4″ or 6′ 5″.
I can’t speak for Carl, who I know from meeting him at film noir festivals in the Bay Area, but I think an anthology about Tim , with contributors, could gain favor with a smaller specialty publisher. Maybe someone like City Light Books. Then again, you might want to absorb yourself in a project like this and go solo.
I do think an anthology would be wonderful. Maybe when the official biography is done, we can think about plunging into it. Yes, Tim was about 6’5″ if I’m not mistaken. You lucky guy!! 🙂
If you are able to get that book pumped out you certainly have a sale with me.
I buy almost all my books used through Abe Books, but for Tim I’d spring for a brand new copy.