So why wasn't Robert Duvall in the third Godfather film? And what was his favorite role? And what did he do during his time in Houston? The answers to all those questions and more were revealed, some on stage at Wortham Theater Center during the Brilliant Lecture Series evening, some during a CultureMap phone interview and one from a tip received from a friend.
The audience and I, serving as interviewer, asked the pertinent questions for more than an hour and Duvall was never at a loss.
He did not accept a role in Godfather III, even though Francis Ford Coppola had asked him to because Coppola had promised Al Pacino two to three times more pay for the film than he was willing to give Duvall. No deal.
His favorite role he allowed, even before being asked, was Gus McCrea in Lonesome Dove.
He got his first role — as Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird — thanks to Texas playwright and author Horton Foote.
And he did, in fact, have barbecue flown in from Lufkin for a party at his 300-acre ranch in Virginia.
Following the Q&A, Duvall and his spectacular wife, Luciana Padraza, headed to The Palm for dinner with Brilliant Lecture Series founder Scott Brogan, Tenenbaum & Co. owners and series sponsors Tony Bradfield and Kevin Black and friends, including Janine and Julian Fertitta.
On Friday, Duvall, Padraza and eight friends joined Julian Fertitta at the Athena Gun Club, where they engaged in numerous rounds of shooting, first on the simulator and then with live ammunition. In the group were Duvall's favorite Houstonian, Danny Davis, and famous Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson. Matthew McConaughy's brother, Rooster McConaughy, came over from home base in Midland to join his buddy ("Call me Bobby") Duvall.
Coincidentally, Padraza, who is an avid shooter, is filming in Texas for a small role as a Texas Ranger. The afternoon was her first time to handle a Colt 45, which the gun club owners gave to her as a gift.
Actress Diane Keaton is next up in the series with an on-stage interview on Feb. 6.