Renowned director Francis Ford Coppola has accused three of Hollywood's leading lights of losing their touch.

The Godfather director rounded on Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Jack Nicholson in an interview with GQ magazine.

He attacks them for losing their motivation and being overtaken by younger actors who are keener to try out new things on screen.

"I met both Pacino and De Niro when they were really on the come," he told the magazine of the two actors he worked with on the Godfather trilogy.

"They were young and insecure. Now Pacino is very rich, maybe because he never spends any money; he just puts it in his mattress. De Niro was deeply inspired by Zoetrope [Coppola's studio] and created an empire and is wealthy and powerful. Nicholson was - when I met him and worked with him - he was always kind of a joker. He's got a little bit of a mean streak.

"He's intelligent, always wired in with the big guys and the big bosses of the studios. I don't know what any of them want any more ... Pacino always wanted to do theatre ... [He] will say, 'Oh, I was raised next to a furnace in New York, and I'm never going to go to LA,' but they all live off the fat of the land."

Coppola is most scathing about As Good As It Gets star Nicholson, who he says does not care about looking for new roles, something he admits De Niro still would.

"I think if there was a role that De Niro was hungry for, he would come after it. I don't think Jack would," he said.

"Jack has money and influence and girls, and I think he's a little bit like [the late actor Marlon] Brando, except Brando went through some tough times."

Coppola's first directed film in ten years, Youth Without Youth, is due out later this year, based on the book by Romanian novelist Mircea Eliade and starring Tim Roth.

18/10/2007 17:48:42