Giovanni Ribisi From ‘The Offer’ on How He Transformed Into Joe Colombo


This story is part of I’m So Obsessed (subscribe here), our podcast featuring interviews with actors, artists, celebrities and creative types about their work, career and current obsessions.

The Godfather is often lauded as one of the greatest films of all time. Based on the book by Mario Puzo, the 1972 movie starred Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, James Caan and Diane Keaton. Francis Ford Coppola directed the movie, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three, including Best Picture. 

For its 50th anniversary, Paramount is releasing a new drama series aptly titled The Offer. The series stars Miles Teller as producer Al Ruddy and follows the extreme challenges he faced from Hollywood and the mob while trying to get The Godfather made into a film. 

Emmy Award-nominated actor Giovanni Ribisi plays the real-life mob boss Joe Colombo, who objected to the way The Godfather might depict Italian-Americans and the mafia. Ribisi was on CNET’s I’m So Obsessed podcast to talk about the series.

“Joe Colombo was involved in it. And the relationship that he had with Al Ruddy was very surprising. And at a certain point, it became what endeared me to the character,” said Ribisi. “He was fighting for the Italian-Americans and he was also a man of his word. He wasn’t somebody who was interested in double crossing. I think that’s the point where Al Ruddy and Joe Colombo connected. They were both cut from the same cloth. They just took different paths in their lives.”

The Offer is available to stream on Paramount Plus on April 28. In CNET’s review of The Offer, Richard Trenholm writes, “Filled with lavish ’70s suits, settings and sunglasses, the show is a fun look at 1970s Hollywood, in which decadence and business threaten the dawn of a new golden age of cinematic artistry.”

Ribisi has been in numerous films, like Avatar, Lost in Translation, Saving Private Ryan and Gone in 60 Seconds. He’s also been in shows such as Sneaky Pete, Friends, My Name Is Earl and On the Verge.

During our conversation, Ribisi discussed his obsession with camera work and color, Brando’s influence on him and off-set life during Lost in Translation. Ribisi also explains why he’s excited for people to see the next two Avatar films.

“We finished two and three, and for me, they surpass the first,” said Ribisi. “I haven’t seen anything, but reading the stories, and seeing how they approached a lot of it; it’s known that a lot of it takes place underwater. And the training that the actors went through was just extraordinary. I’m very excited about these movies.”

You can listen to my entire conversation with Ribisi in the podcast player above. You can also subscribe to I’m So Obsessed on your favorite podcast app. In each episode, CNET Editor in Chief Connie Guglielmo or I catch up with an artist, actor or creator to learn about work, career and current obsessions.


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