‘The Sopranos’ 20th Anniversary Reunion: Cast, Producers Remember James Gandolfini

Variety | 1/9/2019 | Daniel D'Addario
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Jan. 9’s 20th anniversary reunion of the cast and producers of HBO’s “The Sopranos” was a raucous family gathering from its first moments. “I saw a picture of myself in the newspaper,” series creator David Chase said at the start of the event. “And I thought, 20 years. Jesus Christ.”

“People come up to me,” he went on, “and they say, thank you for the show, we really loved it, except for that ending.”

Members - Experiences - Chase - Pilot - Script

Cast members recounted their experiences of auditioning for the notoriously taciturn and difficult-to-read Chase, who’d incidentally produced a pilot script unlike anything else on the air.

“I don’t think this mother idea is going to work,” cast member Steven Van Zandt recalled thinking of Nancy Marchand’s Livia Soprano character. “I know a lot of Italian mothers, and I’ve never known a mother like this.” He later found out Livia was based on Chase’s own mother.

Chase - Idea - Van - Zandt - Lead

Though Chase recalled flirting with the idea of casting Van Zandt as the lead — “I thought maybe this could be a live-action ‘Simpsons,'” he said — all agreed that Gandolfini was the perfect Tony, as actor and as on-set leader. Edie Falco, his onscreen wife, noted that she spent little time with Gandolfini offset, allowing them to plunge easily into their performances. “What I loved so much about it is the differences were not so huge. Neither of us is really actor-y.” She recalled the show having been renewed for a second season: “I don’t know what the ****...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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