Movie executives at Paramount scrapped an idea to wrap up The Godfather movies with a fourth film - because they refused to pay an ailing Mario Puzo. Director Francis Ford Coppola offered to help the dying author pen the screenplay for a final film for free, but penny-pinching studio bosses still refused to greenlight the idea.
Ford Coppola, who initially balked at the idea of directing sequels to his 1972 masterpiece, admits he was so desperate to help Puzo before he died in 1999 that he offered to co-write the screenplay for no charge.
He recalls, "He and I cooked up an idea for what there would be for The Godfather IV and we went to Paramount... and we said, 'Look, Mario is not well. Hire him to write this Godfather IV script, I will help him, do it for nothing...' Mario was very concerned to leave his kids some money and they just never made the deal... Mario died and it was heartbreaking."