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Godfather without Puzo

London, Oct. 23: Paramount Pictures were last night given first option for the screen rights to a potential blockbuster, The Godfather: Part IV.

After months of negotiations, the estate of Mario Puzo, who died three years ago at 78, has given the publishing rights to Random House, with agreement still to be reached on the writer. It is hoped someone of the gravitas of Pat Conroy, author of his own “family” saga, The Great Santini, will be available.

Now talks are under way with Hollywood. Paramount, home of the first three movies, has been given first refusal. A fortune is likely to be made, as well as a possible slew of Oscars: the first two films won 10 Academy Awards, two for best picture.

Jonathan Karp, Puzo’s editor and a senior executive at Random House, told Variety that the Corleone characters in the mafia saga “just keep pulling you back in”.

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