NEW YORK (AP) — David Chase has returned with his first work since “The Sopranos” went black.
The director premiered his debut film, “Not Fade Away,” at the New York Film Festival on Friday ahead of its red carpet gala Saturday. The ’60s rock ‘n’ roll drama is his long-awaited follow-up to the venerated HBO mob drama he created and produced for six seasons.
The film is set around a suburban teenager (John Magaro) in New Jersey whose garage band aspires to be the next Rolling Stones, an ambition at odds with his traditional Italian father (former “Sopranos” star James Gandolfini).
In a press conference at Lincoln Center, Chase called the film, soundtracked by his favorite rock songs, “a compilation album.”
“In ‘The Sopranos,’ one of my favorite parts of that — or maybe my favorite part of that whole thing — was putting the picture and the sound together, putting the music in,” Chase said. “I wanted to continue that. I missed that once I was gone.”
The film, which Paramount Vantage will release on Dec. 21, is about the revolutionary advent of rock ‘n’ roll, told not through its famous players but, as Chase said, from “the backstage” perspective — the regular suburban kids inspired and moved by its spirit.
“I don’t want to get into this thing, like I’m bragging about the ’60s,” he said. “But the one thing I have to say: The music was great. … Music was, at the time, a way into everything, at least for me and for a lot of people I knew, too. That’s the way I first learned about art and poetry and fashion, humor, film. It all came from there.”
The 67-year-old Chase has long aspired to make a feature film. His “Sopranos,” which concluded in 2007, was imbued with movie-like storytelling that significantly raised the bar for television drama. “Not Fade Away,” while of very different and more tender substance, shares many unmistakable elements of “The Sopranos,” particularly the familiar swirl of family tension, pop culture, philosophy and suburban life.
Though Chase said the film is very personal to him, he insisted it wasn’t autobiographical. Chase, like the main character, played drums as a youngster, but he refused to even label himself and his friends “a band.”
“I never even bought a set of drums,” said Chase. “I played on cardboard boxes and stuff. We never got out of the basement.”