Even though the novel was well-received, the movie was not an easy sell for directors. A total of 12 directors turned down the job before Francis Ford Coppola reluctantly signed on due to financial pressure.
By all regards, his first week of directing was a disaster – Al Pacino got injured on set, and filming was disastrously behind schedule. Paramount Pictures even had a replacement director lined up! Coppola showed the studio, however – aside from its enormous box office success, he also finished filming ahead of schedule and under budget.