The TV drama The Offer is the inside story of the making of The Godfather. This is the theme music by Isabella Summers (aka Florence’s “Machine”).
Based on the memoir of the film’s Oscar-winning producer Al Ruddy, it’s almost as compelling as the movie he finally made. It’s far more than a “making of” story about the trials and tribulations of bringing a book to the big screen -though it’s definitely that.
There’s nail-biting tension every step of the way, whether it’s career-threatening crises with the studio over budgets and casting or life-threatening ones with the real-life Mafia over bringing their good name into, er, disrepute.
The series is told from the point of view of Ruddy – a great performance by Miles Teller, who looks like someone photoshopped Elvis Presley and Joe Strummer into one face – and his (far-more-than-an) assistant Bettye, played by Juno Temple.
The series was created by Michael Tolkin, who brought us the Oscar-winning film The Player, another compelling insight into the inner workings of Hollywood – albeit with a more satirical edge.
He and his fellow producers (including Ruddy) have done really well to find lookalike actors for the main characters – Dan Fogler as Coppola, Justin Chambers as Brando, Anthony Ippolito as Pacino and, in a scene-stealing performance, Matthew Goode as the ecentric studio genius Robert Evans.
Other standouts are Giovanni Ribisi as Mafia man Joe Columbo, who plays a key role in getting the film made, Burn Gorman as the eccentric Austrian studio chief Charles Bluhdorn, and Colin Hanks – eldest son of Tom – as the detested studio bean-counter Barry Lupidis, trying to cut the budget and run time of what would become one of the greatest films of all time.
Anyway, enough of that.
I’ve also been struck by the theme music, which turns out to be by someone from my own manor in London.
Isabella Summers was born and raised in Hackney by her artist mother and antiquarian book seller father. She’s a songwriter, keyboardist and Emmy-nominated soundtrack composer – and a founding member of Florence + the Machine.
The simple piano melody of her theme for The Offer, underscored by sweeping strings, reminds me of Nicholas Britell’s theme music for Succession, and both of them exhibit an influence of hip-hop in the beats that underscore the tune.
No surprise, either, to learn that Summers cites Bernard Hermann, famed for his Hitchcock scores, as her favourite composer.
Have a listen – then try to track down the series on Paramount+.