It was one of the greatest TV dramas of all time. And those of us who loved every complex, addictive minute of it still miss “The Sopranos,” which aired for six seasons (1999-2007) on HBO and centered around a mob boss whose difficulty juggling his family with “The Family” landed him in therapy.
That’s why a new interview with the cast and creator David Chase in Vanity Fair is so awesome. The April issue, which hits newsstands today, features an oral history of the show, five years after the acclaimed mob drama faded to black.
That infamous “fade to black” has become the most divisive, most talked about series finale in the history of television. But since it went off the air, the stars of the show and David Chase haven’t talked much about it publicly.
Now it’s been revealed that even Tony Soprano himself was confused by the ending.
“When I first saw the ending, I said, ‘What the f–k?’” series star James Gandolfini said. “I mean, after all I went through, all this death, and then it’s over like that?”
That controversial final scene from the series finale, “Made in America,” depicts mob boss Tony, his wife Carmela and son A.J. sitting at a diner. A strange man is staring at Tony and as he gets up, daughter Meadow enters the restaurant just as the screen suddenly goes black and the credits roll with no sound, leaving fans to wonder for eternity whether or not Tony Soprano got whacked. That non-closure left many frustrated fans furious and fascinated at the same time.
But Gandolfini soon came around and decided the ending was exactly what it needed to be.
“After I had a day to sleep, I just sat there and said, ‘That’s perfect,’” he recalls.
Lorraine Bracco, who played Tony’s psychiatrist Dr. Melfi, doesn’t agree.
“I would have wanted it to end differently,” she says. “But God knows we’ve talked about that ending for five years now — we’re still talking about it. People stop me in the street. ‘Did you get the ending? Did I miss something?’ I thought it was very, very shrewd.”
The article also features some interesting recollections from cast members, writers and Chase. A few of the fun tidbits below:
~ Drea de Matteo (Adriana) hated her New Jersey accent on the show. “I felt like my accent sounded really, really fake,” she says. ““Now when I walk down the street, people say, ‘Just give me one Chris-ta-fuh.’ ”
Click the image below to watch the final chapter of “The Sopranos:”
~ Chase wanted to whack Christafuh a lot sooner. “As a mob boss, the guy was totally unreliable! … Tony put up with him for too long,” Chase said about Michael Imperioli’s character Christopher Moltisanti, Tony’s nephew who eventually went to sleep with the fishes in the final season. “Christopher just spelled the end of Tony, his family — everything. From my standpoint, as the architect of the series, Tony put up with him for too long.”
~ Though his character didn’t treat his wife very well, James Gandolfini loves Edie Falco. “I’m still in love with Edie,” Gandolfini says of his former TV wife. “Of course, I love my wife, but I’m in love with Edie. I don’t know if I’m in love with Carmela or Edie or both. I’m in love with her.”
~ Edie Falco thought she should have been cast as the shrink. “I would have cast me as Dr. Melfi, but, luckily, I was not in charge,” Falco says, adding that she quickly acclimated to her role as Carmela. “I immediately knew how she felt about things, the way she wanted to look.”
~ Bracco said playing Melfi was as draining as a vampire: “I had to suck the life out of myself to play her. I mean, I don’t think Dr. Melfi ever smiled. I wanted her repressed and sad. And she also had to pay attention to not give an inch with Tony, because he would have eaten her up.”
~ Tony “Paulie Walnuts” Sirico once had a little trouble with killing a woman on-screen, fearing it would make him look bad in “the neighborhood.” “I had to smother her. First he wanted me to strangle her; I said, ‘No, I’m not putting my hands on her.’ He said, ‘Use the pillow.’ The actor never got any flack for the scene, as he came to learn – “They loved the show; they didn’t care what we did.”
For more candid conversations with “The Sopranos,” pick up the April issue of Vanity Fair.