Oscilloscope Laboratories have picked up the North American rights to a doc we’ve been raving about for over a year, director Richard Shepard‘s (“The Matador,” “The Hunting Party“) portrait of underappreciated ’70s actor, John Cazale, titled, “I Knew It Was You: Remembering John Cazale.”
The economic 40-minute documentary premiered on HBO on June 1 earlier this month and now has been picked up for a DVD release later this fall (for those of you who don’t have HBO and might have missed it).
John Cazale only starred in five movies and each one of those films — “The Godfather,” “The Godfather II,” “The Conversation,” “Dog Day Afternoon” and “The Deer Hunter” — was nominated for an Oscar Best Picture. The five films garnered a massive 40 nominations in total, but Cazale, the mannered and wiry actor best known for playing Fredo Corelone in “The Godfather” films was never once nominated.
The doc features testimonials from friends and collaborators such as Al Pacino, Gene Hackman, Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss, Meryl Streep, and Sidney Lumet, as well as actors and filmmakers from a younger generation inspired by Cazale, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Rockwell, Steve Buscemi, and Brett Ratner (an executive producer on the film and a huge Cazale champion).
We’re told the picture is eyeing a late fall/possible Christmas release, will contain many special features, a full interview with Al Pacino, a few short films Cazale appeared in and commentary by the director.
We spoke to Shepard last month about the documentary and he told us the DVD would contain many extras. “There’s a ton of stuff [we had to cut], conversations with friend and playwright] Israel Horowitz and Pacino particularly, those two just had a tons of stories,” he told us. “
“One of my favorite things that didn’t end up in the movie is Pacino talking about how so revered John was and he talks about John coming backstage at one of his plays and pretending that he liked the performance even though they both knew that Pacino had been overacting the whole time. You know, just stuff that’s fucking funny. But at a certain point we just couldn’t make it fit in. And at the end of the day I think that John had a very short life and a very short film career and I wanted to have a great 40 minute documentary as opposed to something that not as good and a little longer. And to be honest, HBO totally supported that which was the best part of the whole thing.”