Diane Keaton, Al Pacino

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Diane Keaton looks back at the making of The Godfather.

While she Hands and Footprints Ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood on Thursday, the Oscar winner, 76, reminded PEOPLE that Al Pacino82, was not an obvious choice before being cast for his iconic role as Michael Corleone in The Godfather.

“The studio didn’t want Al Pacino at all,” Keaton said, noting that she was cast ahead of him in the Francis Ford Coppola classic. She went on to explain what changed the studio’s mind: their read chemistry. “So he brought in Al Pacino and we did it together and for some reason that helped them pick him,” Keaton said.

“Can you imagine if you hadn’t chosen it? So a lot of these experiences you’ve had and you’re just surprised, like today was a surprise. It’s [a] a total and utter surprise to me,” Keaton added.

Also in conversation with PEOPLE, Keaton admitted for which she auditioned The Godfather without “having ever read” the book the film was based on.

“I think the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me…is that I was chosen to be in The Godfather and I haven’t even read it. I didn’t know anything at all,” Keaton recalled. “I was just going around auditioning. I think it was amazing for me. And then I kind of had to read the book.”

RELATED: Diane Keaton admits she has never read The Godfather Before auditioning: “I needed to work”

The Godfather Part III Diane Keaton

The Godfather Part III Diane Keaton

Emilio Lari/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Keaton played Kay Adams-Corleone, the wife of Pacino’s character in the 1972 film adaptation of Mario Puzolater reprising the role in the 1974 and 1990 sequels.

“I think about how lucky I am. That’s what I think. And the way I think about things, like I auditioned for The Godfathernever having read The Godfather or concerned about The Godfather or whatever, because I was just auditioning. I needed to find work,” she explained, reminiscing about her career.

RELATED: Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro celebrate ‘The Godfather’ in tribute to 50 years at the 2022 Oscars

Diane Keaton

Diane Keaton


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The Annie Hall The star was supported by friends and family at the ceremony on Thursday, including her daughter Dexter Keaton27 and 22 year old son Duke Keatonas well as her younger sister Dorrie Hall.

“It was just one of those things in your life where you didn’t expect it and then all of a sudden it comes to you. And then it’s like, wow,” Keaton said of the ceremony. “I was thrilled, of course. And I still am. And being here today is also great because I’m not inside this theater often and I love this theater.”


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