“I think it was partially that and partially laziness”: Robert Duvall Wasn’t Afraid to Call Out Marlon Brando After What He Did to Say His Lines in The Godfather

Robert Duvall called out Marlon Brando’s technique of delivering his lines with unconventional assistance.

Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando in The Godfather


  • Robert Duvall recalled his collaboration with the late legend Marlon Brando, during the 50th anniversary of The Godfather.
  • Delving into his on-set experience, Duvall recalled Marlon Brando's use of cue cards to remember and deliver his lines.
  • While Duvall called out Brando’s laziness for using the unconventional approach, the actor later praised the late legend.
Show More
Featured Video

Playing the role of Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen, Robert Duvall shared many scenes with the late legend Marlon Brando, during their collaboration on The Godfather. During their on-set experience, Duvall got to witness one of Brando’s acting quirks – using cue cards to remember his lines.

Robert Duvall in The Godfather
Robert Duvall in The Godfather

Reports of Marlon Brando using cue cards have made rounds on the internet, for many years, since the actor’s demise. But finally, Robert Duvall addressed the very practice and broke his silence on Brando’s acting quirks. Since many had pointed to Brando’s use of cue cards as a symptom of laziness, without holding back, Duvall claimed the same and called out the legend for his practice.

Robert Duvall Called Out Marlon Brando’s Acting Quirks

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola‘s The Godfather in 2022, Robert Duvall sat for an interview with The A.V. Club, to discuss his work and on-set experiences. Playing the role of Tom Hagen, who often wrestled with his loyalty to the Corleone family because of their criminal empire, Duvall discussed his relationships on and off screen with members of the Corleone family.


Particularly influenced by the legendary actor Marlon Brando, during his collaboration on The Godfather, Robert Duvall reflected on the lessons he took from luminaries like him. During his conversation, the actor even emphasized the opportunity to witness one of Brando’s unconventional acting techniques that often made headlines.

Robert Duvall with Marlon Brando in a scene from The Godfather
Robert Duvall and Marlon Brando in The Godfather

No, not really because I tried that once. I didn’t go that route. I felt that if you know your lines perfectly, you can still be very spontaneous. He did that because he claimed it made him spontaneous, but I think it was partially that and partially laziness.”

Speaking about how Marlon Brando was often known for using cue cards, placed around the set to help him remember his lines during his old days, Robert Duvall opened up about the technique. Further, claiming to have used that method himself, Duvall admitted that it didn’t work for him. But later on, instead of holding back his tongue, the actor seemingly called out Brando for his typical method.

Robert Duvall Praised Marlon Brando as a Revolutionary Actor

Many people have called out Marlon Brando’s use of cue cards to remember lines and deliver them as a lazy method. But certainly, no one expected Robert Duvall to speak out the truth. As the actor called out Brando’s method as lazy, Duvall stunned his readers with his comments.


Elsewhere, in an interview with EW celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Godfather, Duvall once again addressed Brando’s use of cue cards, only this time he was more positive about his comments.

It was part of the game, part of the fun. Listen, that’s the way he works. I tried that once. It didn’t work. You can do that for spontaneity to keep it fresh, to be always searching. But I think you can learn the lines perfectly and still have spontaneity.

Marlon Brando in The Godfather
Marlon Brando in a still from The Godfather

Thereafter, claiming that making The Godfather was more fun than making the equally revered sequel, The Godfather: Part II, Robert Duvall went on to praise Marlon Brando. Claiming to have learned a lot from the icon, Duvall called him “revolutionary” in his own way.

He was revolutionary in his way of being very natural, but within pulses still being able to keep it alive emotionally.

Further, Robert Duvall went on to credit the director Francis Ford Coppola for his determination, and for fighting against the studio to let the actors experiment and bring something unexpected to the table.


The Godfather is available on Netflix. 


Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Articles Published: 1465

Krittika is a News Writer at FandomWire with 2 years of prior experience in lifestyle and web content writing. With her previous works available on HubPages and Medium, she has woven over 1000 stories with us, about fan-favorite actors, movies, and shows. Post-graduate in Journalism and Honors-graduate in English Literature, when this art enthusiast isn't crafting your next favorite article, she finds her escapism in coffee, fiction, and the Wizarding World.