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Coppola slags off Godfather game

Top director wants to put new EA title in a concrete overcoat and throw it off the Brooklyn Bridge.

Francis Ford Coppola has proper gone off on one about Electronic Arts' new Godfather game, despite earlier claims by the design team that they were granted access to his archives.

In an interview with US television show Sunday Morning ShootOut, Coppola said Paramount did not inform him of the deal at any stage. "I knew nothing about it," he said. "They never asked me if I thought it was a good idea."

The Godfather is slated for release on PS2, Xbox, PC and PSP this autumn. It allows players to create their own mob character and work their way up through the ranks of the Corleone family, and features the likenesses of film actors Robert Duvall (Tom Hagen) and James Caan (Sonny Corleone).

Marlon Brando also granted likeness rights and recorded a voiceover for the game before popping off to swim with the fishes.

But Coppola, who says he has managed to get a preview of the game, believes the characters have been mishandled. "They use the characters everyone knows, and they hire those actors to be there, and only to introduce minor characters. And then for the next hour they shoot and kill each other," he said.

"I had absolutely nothing to do with the game and I disapprove. I think it's a misuse of film."

However, Coppola's claims that he was completely unaware of the project seem to contradict earlier statements by the game's producer, David De Martini. "We've met with [Coppola] on one occasion and we shared with him what our vision was for the game, and where we were going to go," De Martini told Eurogamer in a recent interview.

"He isn't choosing to participate in the project, but he did invite us up to the Coppola winery where he has his own private library. He's got a lot of materials from the original Godfather productions - so a lot of sketch designs for the sets, for the costumes, a lot of notes that he's taken in the original screenplay as well as in the book.

"He invited us up there to take a look around, and we sent four or five people for a week. It was such a rich experience to go up there and see it and it was well worth the time," he added.

Electronic Arts was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.