Why Talia Shire's Connie In The Godfather, Coda Is More Powerful Than You Think - Exclusive

Even though Talia Shire's Connie Corleone Rizzi never officially assumes the role of the don in the Corleone family in the recently released Godfather III redux Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, there's a strong argument to be made that she's absolutely shows the type of power associated with being an organized crime boss.

As viewers will see in The Godfather, Coda, a newly reedited and restored version of third film in the Godfather trilogy that features a new beginning and an ending, there's a strong reminder that Connie isn't about to let the Corleones' enemy trample the family as Don Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) strives to make their business affairs legitimate. There's still a wild card in the mix of the family, though, as Sonny Corleone's (James Caan) illegitimate son Vincent Mancini (Andy Garcia) works his way into the family fold, bringing the fury of his late father with him. While Michael spurns his nephew's heavy-handed behavior, however, Connie embraces it.

In an exclusive interview with Looper to talk about The Godfather, Coda, Talia Shire says that Connie's inherent drive for power is rooted in the love she had for her late father Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). Shire notes it's the same sort of undying love Mary Corleone (Sofia Coppola) has for her father Michael, but their ambitions are different.

"Connie loved her father. And in this piece, I think you'll see the symmetry between Connie and Mary, and Sofia and myself," Shire explains. "They're both daughters of very powerful men. One realizes through an illusion that she wants to keep [the family] going by being like her father, and the other one is very sacrificed in her exploration of, 'Dad, who were you before? Were you married before?' So, the two women really are one in a way."

Cutting a scene, but gaining a new meaning

Of course, one of the most pivotal scenes in the third Godfather chapter comes when Joey Zasa (Joe Mantegna) helps organize a hit on all New York crime family heads at a special gathering that Michael Corleone organized. While Michael escapes, he suffers a diabetic seizure caused by the traumatic incident and is hospitalized. As a result, Connie feels there is no turning back and orders Vincent to assassinate Joey.

In the original Godfather III, Connie orders Vincent to do the hit in the hospital chapel. In The Godfather, Coda, however, director Francis Ford Coppola — who is Shire's older brother — cuts out the scene; this is because Vincent already knows what Connie wants him to do without needing to be told. And while it couldn't have been easy for Coppola to cut out a crucial scene featuring his own his sister, Shire believes the change makes the film better.

"When Michael says, 'Just when I thought I could get out, they pull me back in,' [you see that] it's Connie who does not want redemption ... This is what makes Francis so great, [because you realize Michael is] going to redeem himself. He really wants out. He is Oedipus at the three roads ... This guy isn't going to go that place," Shire shares with Looper. "So, instead, there's Connie working on [retribution] and you feel what Vincent [knows what I want] without me saying, 'Do that hit.' You feel Vincent's raw energy. He didn't have a father. And you see Connie in many ways as his father."

Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is now playing in limited release in theaters nationwide, and is available via on Blu-ray and video on demand now.