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Farewell to James Caan, Sonny of The Godfather

Certain roles stick to you even if you have worn them for a short time, and this is a bit like what happened to James Caan, who for a good part of his career was the extension of Sonny, the favorite son of Don Vito Corleone who he played in the first chapter of The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola, year 1972. However, to reduce his talent exclusively to Sonny – who, we recall, died riddled with bullets in the first film and returned in the second act in the form of a flashback – would be unfair and reductive for an actor, passed away on 7 July at the age of 82, which has always made expressiveness and charm its trademark.

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Born on March 26, 1940 in the Bronx, the son of two Jewish parents of German descent, James Caan, the bright promise of football, decides at one point to devote himself to acting, making his debut, in 1963, in a small role in that underrated masterpiece by Billy Wilder. which is Irma the sweet. Fame, however, comes four years later thanks to El Doradothe western that sees him working together with Howard Hawks, John Wayne And Robert Mitchum and that, thanks to the character of Mississippi, a young man seeking revenge who cannot shoot, allows Caan to board a train that from that moment on will never stop. Along with the adventurous trend, however, also the musical comedy with Funny Lady alongside Barbra Streisand and the dystopian thriller Rollerballset in a 2018 in which wars, crimes and poverty no longer exist (how nice to dream).

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After a turbulent period linked to cocaine use in the 1980s, he apparently started snorting on the set of Killer Elite by Sam Peckinpah, James Caan embodies the prototype of the genius consumed by the desire for revenge and drug addiction in Misery doesn’t have to die, the extraordinary film by Rob Reiner that sees him in the role of Paul Sheldon, the bestseller kidnapped by nurse Annie Wilkes who will keep him segregated in his home until he writes a novel worthy of the Misery saga from which Sheldon was desperately trying to free himself. By Stephen King’s own admission, Misery has always been a novel dedicated to cocaine, and that is why the choice of Caan as the leading actor was indicative, given that in that period the actor becomes unreliable while retaining his greatness and finding new life in the 2000s, where he divides between cinema and TV with some success.

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Source: Vanity Fair

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