Thursday, April 23, 2009

HBO'S REAL H'WOOD GODFATHER

HOLLYWOOD legend Robert Evans is stoked about his latest project -- a six-hour miniseries for HBO on the life of Sidney Korshak, whom the FBI once called "the most powerful lawyer in the world."

Korshak started out in Chicago and moved to Beverly Hills, where he was the "fixer" for Chicago mobsters doing business there, labor bosses and politicians, and good friends with men like Lew Wasserman, Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, Barron Hilton and Hugh Hefner.

"He was the godfathers' godfather, and he was my godfather," Evans told Page Six. "He was known as 'The Silencer,' and one of his sayings was, 'Continued silence is the greatest insurance policy for continued breathing.' One word from him and there wasn't a second one. He never had to say anything twice."

Korshak, who died in 1996, was a boxing champ at the University of Minnesota, and an imposing figure. Evans recalled, "He never had an office. It was all in his head. And he never had his picture taken." Evans, who gave a eulogy at his funeral, said that without Korshak, "The Godfather" wouldn't exist. "The five families in New York did not want the movie made. And we couldn't have gotten Al Pacino. He was signed to "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" at MGM. Korshak called up [MGM owner] Kirk Kerkorian who was building the MGM Grand at the time, and asked him to release Pacino. When Kerkorian balked, Sidney said, 'Kirk, you want to finish that hotel?' " Robert De Niro ended up with Pacino's part in the "Gang" movie.

Evans is producing the miniseries with Paramount -- which he ran in the 1970s when "The Godfather," "Chinatown" and "Love Story" were made. Art Monterastelli is writing the script. Evans said, "I hope I can make it as good as I can talk about it."