Carey’s final project as a film director is Godfarter III (1989), an audition piece for Coppola, who was looking to cast the role of an elderly Mafia don for The Godfather: Part III (1990). Coppola considered Carey too young for the part (and may also have been put off by Carey’s earlier eccentricities on The Godfather). Carey tried to convince the director that he could tackle the role of Don Altobello, but it wasn’t meant to be, and Eli Wallach was eventually cast in the part.
Godfarter III consists mostly of scenes taken directly from the original script by Coppola and Mario Puzo. Romeo Carey recalls, “It was basically a screen test, but you also get to see behind-the-scenes of the making of the screen test and how my father worked with actors. I shot the screen test. I got a call from my father. He said, ‘Bring your camera tomorrow morning, I am going to shoot a screen test for Francis.’ I showed up at his studio the next day with my camera and lights. In a single day, he put the project together, complete with the use of the Hilton Hotel, a limo, props, ten bodyguards in suits for his entrance, and his acting friend Robert Miano. My dad’s intention was to prove to Francis that he could play an 80-year-old Don. (Carey was then 60.) We powdered his face white and sprayed his hair white. In the end, my dad was happy with the screen test and felt satisfied. I shot what he told me to shoot and then I edited the footage for him, and he sent it to Francis. Francis liked it a lot and was interested in my father for the part, but Dad suffered another massive stroke a few days after the shoot.”
– Harvey F. Chartrand, “Timothy Carey: The World’s Greatest Director!”, FilmFax Plus, April/June 2004, No. 102
Godfarter III is available for purchase from Absolute Films