Sopranos stars and its creator make new music film
DAVID Chase, the man who created The Sopranos, unveils his first new project since the hit television series when his movie Not Fade Away has its premiere on Friday.
It's a story, with some autobiographical elements, set in the 1960s about a drummer (played by John Magaro) in a garage band who have ambitions of becoming the next Rolling Stones.
James Gandolfini, who starred as Tony Soprano, plays the musician's disapproving father.
Steve Van Zandt, another Sopranos veteran, was a producer and musical supervisor on Not Fade Away.
Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band guitarist reportedly spent a lot of time making the actors aware of what they would need to do to look like a genuine garage band.
Not Fade Away has a limited release and marks the debut of the movie world's most promising 67-year-old.
Chase spent years toiling as a writer in television before The Sopranos (working on The Rockford Files among others) and after an attempt to write a psychological thriller floundered he turned to an old idea - one he occasionally kicked around in the Sopranos' writers room - of a coming-of-age tale set in the 1960s around music based in New Jersey, where Chase grew up.
Chase told AP Entertainment Writer Jake Coyle: "I love rock 'n' roll so much that I really wanted to make a movie about the music, not about the personalities involved, not about the ups and downs or the rise and fall of it. I didn't want to do a biopic. If it was going to be a biopic, I wanted to do a biopic about nobodies - which is what it kind of is."
The Sopranos is widely regarded as one of the finest television series ever made.
Chase said of the show: "All I wanted to do was present the idea of how short life is and how precious it is. The only way I felt I could do that was to rip it away."
The Sopranos was partly a dark tale of the mother-son relationship of Tony and his disturbed mum but Not Fade Away is based on the father and son. "My mother had very little capability for compassion or empathy," says Chase. "My father had that, but he was from his generation. He was a tough guy."
Chase fled his parents at 22 and moved to California with his high-school sweetheart and future wife, Denise, to attend film school. He went on to wrote scripts on spec and for studio assignments with Columbia and Universal while working in TV. He got close to having films made by Ridley Scott and Michael Mann. "TV was considered pretty lame at that time," he says. "It wasn't what I wanted. I knew there was something better. I liked movies better, but I just couldn't crack it."
Gandolfini is happy to be working again with Chase. He says: "It was good to work together again because The Sopranos was such a big, huge thing and it was nice to just get back to shooting a film somewhere with nobody around. It was kind of just going back to work."
Among the music featured in the film is John Cooper Clarke's Evidently Chickentown and the Stones' Moonlight Mile.
Chase, who spent a year in Europe after The Sopranos ended, is now developing a mini-series for HBO about early silent film-making and says he enjoyed the challenge of writing for the big screen.
He says: "They say the good writing is on TV and I know what they mean by that but at the same time, you think to yourself: That's nice, but that big screen and those big speakers are an experience in themselves. Why would TV ideas not be on that big screen? Why do they have to be on TV?"