Sixteen years after the release of “The Godfather: Part II,” Francis Ford Coppola got the family back together — including sister Talia — for one final Corleone family go-round with “The Godfather: Part III” in 1990. Given the immense footprints the first two “Godfather” films left (both won Best Picture Oscars), the pressure was on for the third chapter in the saga, which found the godfather, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), striving to finally make the Corleone family business legitimate after spending decades in the organized crime world.
Hardened by the death of her husband, Carlo, at the conclusion of the first “Godfather” film, Shire’s turn as Connie Corleone Rizzi in “The Godfather: Part III” is decidedly different than the passive nature of the character that audiences first met 18 years before the trilogy’s end. In fact, Shire said in an exclusive interview with Looper for the 2020 update and restoration of the third film — retitled “Coda: The Godfather, The Death of Michael Corleone” — Connie has essentially assumed the persona of her late father, Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), as she aids her nephew, Vincent Manini (Andy Garcia), when he takes over the godfather mantle.
“I think for Connie, in many ways her evolution [in the third Godfather film] is addressed as the matriarch or the mother, but she assumes [Don Vito’s role instead], because I think there’s a lot of victimization in her life, and tragedy,” Shire told us. “She does not want to see this family end … I think Connie assumes a lot of the father. So, in a way, Brando’s essence was in my heart as an actor. I missed my father. When you miss your father, you reenact your father. So, Brando was very much with me.”