Al Pacino has paid fresh tribute to his late co-star John Cazale, calling him “one of the great actors of our time”.
Cazale, who died from lung cancer in 1978, appeared in five films during his short career. They were all nominated for the Oscar for Best Picture.
Speaking to The New York Times, Pacino said: “I learned so much from him. I had done a lot of theatre and three films with him. He was inspiring, he just was. And he didn’t get credit for any of it.”
He added: “He was in five films, all Oscar-nominated films, and he was great in all of them. He was particularly great in Godfather II and I don’t think he got that kind of recognition.”
Cazale continued to act even after he received his terminal cancer diagnosis. Production of his final film, 1978’s The Deer Hunter, was rearranged so that he could shoot all of his scenes first. He died after finishing his scenes, but before production was completed, with his co-star and partner Meryl Streep by his side.
Elsewhere in the interview, Pacino explained why he chose not to attend the Academy Awards when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather. He denied that the decision had anything to do with him not being nominated in the leading category, saying: “No, absolutely not. I was at that stage in my life where I was somewhat, more or less, rebellious. I did go back for others. But I didn’t go to them early on. It was the tradition.”
He added: “I don’t think Bob [De Niro] went to one of them. George C Scott didn’t even go. They had to wake him up. [Laughs] Marlon didn’t go. Look, Marlon gave back the Oscar. How about that? They were rebelling from the Hollywood thing. That kind of thing was in the air.”