James Caan Co-Star Shares Hilarious Story From Set of 'The Godfather'

Actress Jennifer Tilly has shared a hilarious story that James Caan told her from his days working on The Godfather, following the actor's death.

Caan died on Wednesday, July 6, at the age of 82. His passing was confirmed in a short statement shared to the star's official Twitter account.

A versatile actor remembered for films like Misery and The Gambler as well as modern favorites like Elf, along with the aforementioned mafia classic, news of Caan's passing prompted a wave of tributes from fans and celebrities alike on social media.

One of the most memorable came from Tilly, who starred alongside Caan in the 2003 thriller Jericho Mansions about an agoraphobic superintendent investigating a series of murders in his building.

In a series of tweets posted in the wake of his death, the Bound actress recalled a brilliant story Caan shared with her while working together. It came from his time filming 1972's The Godfather and centered around Francis Ford Coppola and a sandwich.

Caan made his name as the volatile Sonny Corleone in Coppola's mob drama, earning Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for his efforts along with worldwide acclaim.

But, according to Tilly, life on the set of the film wasn't always easy, especially when it came to lunch time. "James Caan always had the funniest stories," she wrote. "Once he told me Coppola had the habit of grabbing food off his plate & eating it."

Not one to be messed with, she said Caan came up with a scheme to get his own back. "So one day he made a sandwich with very hot jalapeños between two pieces of buttered bread, & waited outside Coppola's airstream...," Tilly wrote.

"Coppola came roaring out to direct the next scene, grabbed the sandwich off the plate & gobbled it down."

Caan told her the esteemed director's reaction was almost instantaneous and not to mention hilarious. "Immediately tears started squirting out of his eyes & he started yelling 'What is this? What did you do to me?!'" she wrote. "And Jimmy said meekly 'Did I ask you to eat my sandwich? Did I?'"

While Coppola was no doubt left seething at Caan's prank, the pair remained lifelong friends having first collaborated on the director's 1969 debut The Rain People.

Coppola, now 83, shared his own heartfelt personal tribute to the actor in a statement issued to Deadline. Jimmy was someone who stretched through my life longer and closer than any motion picture figure I've ever known," he said.

"From those earlier times working together on The Rain People, and throughout all the milestones of my life, his films and the many great roles he played will never be forgotten. He will always be my old friend from Sunnyside, my collaborator and one of the funniest people I've ever known."

In another tweet paying tribute to Caan, Tilly recalled how he "always gave 100 percent" in his work. "He was the quintessential tough guy, but also so kind and funny."

James Caan and Marlon Brando in Godfather.
James Caan, Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and John Cazale. One of Caan's former co-stars has shared a story the late actor told her from his time on 'The Godfather.' Silver Screen/Getty