Francis Ford Coppola Clarifies Relationship with Editor Aram Avakian

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Francis Ford Coppola Clarifies Relationship with Editor Aram Avakian

Francis Ford Coppola has clarified claims that editor Aram Avakian intentionally sabotaged him in an attempt to get him fired from THE GODFATHER. There were reports that Aram Avakian intentionally leaked the film's dailies to Paramount executives in an attempt to have Francis Ford Coppola removed from the production. These rumors had never been substantiated.

Francis Ford Coppola, who joined Instagram on May 30, 2023, was asked on the social media app if Aram Avakian tried to replace him as director on the Oscar-winning film, as depicted in the miniseries, THE OFFER.

Francis Ford Coppola responded:

"Aram was NOT in on the plot to replace me. He was my editor for You're a Big Boy Now and I looked up to him and learned much from him. He was my friend, a big brother figure.

Aram Avakian's wife, Dorothy Tristan told the true story in her autobiography, JOY STREET:

"...something deeply unfair happened to Aram. Francis Coppola was slated to direct THE GODFATHER. But Bob Evans, the producer, wasn't sure Coppola was the best candidate. Impressed with Aram's work, he sent one of his guys, Al Ruddy, to ask Aram to replace Francsi as director. Aram said, "I can't do that, Francis is my friend." Ruddy tried to talk him into it, but, flattered though the as, Aram wouldn't betray his friend... Aram was portrayed as a sneakily villain. It really hurt him... Years later, poor Aram died without that ugly lie being expunged from his name. I feel it's my duty to tell the reader this story, just to present the absolute truth, and clear his name..."

Aram Avakian was born in Manhattan on April 23, 1926 to Armenian parents. The editor graduated from Yale University, served in the United States Navy. In 1958, he co-directed a filmed record of the Newport Jazz Festival, which became JAZZ ON A SUMMER'S DAY. The film is credited with being the first feature film documentary of a music festival. In 1960, he edited the feature film GIRL OF THE NIGHT, which is known for its early use of the freeze frame and jump cut in American films. END OF THE ROAD, his film starring James Earl Jones and Stacy Keach, received an "X" rating for its graphic depiction of an abortion. The film received the Golden Leopard Award at the Locarno International Film Festival, and is admired by director Steven Soderbergh, who directed an accompanying documentary on the making of the film.

Aram Avakian was initially the editor on THE GODFATHER, and was replaced by William Reynolds and Peter Zinner, who were nominated at the Academy Awards for their work. Geoffrey Arend portrays Aram Avakian in THE OFFER, which is currently streaming on Paramount+.