Al Pacino thinks Jessica Chastain is a ''prodigy''.

The veteran actor was so mind-blown by the then-unknown actress' audition for his film 'Wild Salome' - which is based on Oscar Wilde's play and was years in the making - that he instantly realised she would become one of Hollywood's most exciting leading ladies.

Discussing her impressive audition in front of himself and producer Robert Fox, he said: ''It was as if we had both seen something we had never seen in our life before. It was stunning. It was like looking at a prodigy.''

Jessica recently credited her mentor Pacino with giving her the break she needed in 2006, and teaching her how to go from stage actress to silver screen star.

The 73-year-old actor also shockingly revealed he almost lost out on the pivotal role of mafia boss Michael Corleone in 1972's iconic drama 'The Godfather', but director Francis Ford Coppola argued his corner.

He told a crowd at the London Palladium on Sunday night (02.06.13): ''There was a lot of controversy over who would play Michael Corleone. Warner Bros. didn't like what they saw...

''There is a f**king reward at the end. That's what you have got to hear. The end of it is Francis wanted me, no one else did. They didn't want [Marlon] Brando either.''