USA TODAY has DVD update

USA TODAY dished out the most of what i've heard will be on the DVD-including the pricetag-


Naturally, much of the discussion in bonus features on the definitive Sopranos DVD set focuses on the show's cut-to-black ending, which enraged some fans and kept others stewing for weeks over potential hidden meanings.

In an interview, creator David Chase says the DVD producers kept steering the writers and stars back to the topic. He says he knew the show's status as a phenomenon would spark the huge buildup to the shrouded-in-secrecy finale, but he was surprised at the depth and longevity of viewers' reactions to it.

"I was glad people were devoted to (the show). I'm the guy who's building the house, and you want the homeowners when they move in to like it. But what did upset me is people said I didn't care about them, I had spit in their face.

"If they were that devoted to the show and it meant so much to them, why would the guy who had invented it and given it to them say, 'Go (expletive) yourselves?' That didn't make sense. It was never that I didn't care about the audience. It's that if you always listen to them, you never had a center. People would say, 'There's too much violence; there's not enough violence; there's too much comedy; make it funnier.' How could you possibly do anything?"
Yahoo! Buzz Digg Newsvine Reddit FacebookWhat's this?By Gary Levin, USA TODAY
Stars and writers of HBO's top series reflected on its history in two "Suppers With The Sopranos" filmed this year at an Italian restaurant in New York, along with a separate interview with creator David Chase by actor/fan Alec Baldwin, for November's DVD set. USA TODAY's Gary Levin offers highlights.
•In Season 1, producers toyed with the idea of having Dr. Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) write a book on her experiences with Tony (James Gandolfini), which would have been turned into a show-within-the-show starring Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace) — the first choice to play Tony in the show's first incarnation as a potential Fox series.

•Dominic Chianese, who played Uncle Junior, says he keeps Junior's oversized black glasses next to his home computer, by a photo of his mother. But during filming, he could never see clearly out of them, and crewmembers nicknamed him "Mr. Magoo" and "Mummyhead."

•Chase predicts the future for Soprano kids A.J. (Robert Iler) and Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler): "He's not going to be much of anything, but he's not going to be a killer," he says. And Meadow is "going to have a career of some kind." So as parents, maybe Tony and Carmela "both did a good job."

•Steve Van Zandt, who went from Bruce Springsteen bandmate to actor (and back), says he had one condition for playing Silvio: "Promise me I get to kill somebody. I don't know what this acting thing's about, but it should be getting something to do you couldn't do in life." He got his wish, but the most trying was his off-camera shooting of Adriana: "That was really difficult."

•Chase reflects on Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri's never-changing gray-hued hairstyle, the work of Tony Sirico, the actor who played him. "Tony would never let anybody work with his hair; our hair people could never touch him," Chase says. "He would get up at 5 in the morning at his house (to style it). In the third season, (Paulie) was having a nightmare, and his hair was supposed to be messed up. He didn't want it to happen; he really fought it."

•Edie Falco was the last actor cast for the pilot; she showed up wearing in-line skates to audition for the role of Carmela at a midtown Manhattan hotel, days before the episode began filming. Falco didn't feel as if she fit the part of an Italian housewife, but producers did: After more than 100 actresses were turned down, she was offered the part the next day, without ever meeting future TV husband Gandolfini.

•Chase reacts to fan outrage over the series finale and its abrupt, elliptical ending that left Tony's future uncertain. "I thought there'd be a reaction. What I didn't like was the number of people who wanted to see him dead. They really wanted to see his brains splattered across the restaurant. They wanted Tony Soprano's head exploded like a cantaloupe."

•An unremarked feature of that final scene in the diner: "I forgot to put on Carmela's rings," says Falco, who had a bad cold that day. "Ten years on that show, and I have never not put those rings on. I was sure this was going to come up on some website. I'm surprised I didn't hear from somebody that it had some significance that I was not aware of."

•Van Zandt had the misfortune of being booked on a nationally syndicated radio show the morning after the finale aired. "I was getting slaughtered by the entire country," he says. "But I got a chance to say, 'Guess what, folks? You were disappointed because it wasn't your ending. But it's a compliment to the show, because that means you were emotionally engaged.' "

•Producers shot fake endings to the series to throw off spoilers and removed the final pages from the script given to the crew, several of whom complimented Chase on what they thought was the actual ending: a quiet scene of Tony raking leaves that appeared near the end of the episode. Writer Matthew Weiner recalls one scene featured Adriana, apparently in a dream, and another had Phil Leotardo shooting Tony through a window. (Actor Frank Vincent replied, "Why am I doing this?" Weiner recalls.) In yet another, a disembodied hand did the dirty job. Others were still confounded: "I got the real script and assumed you were hiding 15 pages," director Alan Taylor told Chase.

•Chase talked about his family background from time to time, but few Sopranos fans realize how close an approximation the series was to his own. An only child of a hardware-store owner and a phone-book proofreader, Chase grew up in Clifton, N.J., and counted Twilight Zone, Maverick and Jackie Gleason among his favorite shows. Mom was "a handful," he tells Baldwin, and clearly was the model for Livia. When she won the part, an already ailing Nancy Marchand asked him, "I trust this creature I'm portraying is dead." (Livia dies early in Season 3.) "Everybody in the show is annoyed," Chase says. "Without the profanity and without the violence and sexuality, that's a fairly good representation of family," he says.

•An early classic episode shows Tony killing a man while visiting colleges with Meadow. Then-HBO chief Chris Albrecht complained to Chase: "You can't show Tony killing someone in the fourth episode," the producer recalls. "I said, 'Unless this guy kills somebody, he's not a Mob boss worth talking about.' " The compromise was to make the murder victim less sympathetic, to show why he deserved to die.

EXTRAS EXTRAS: Stars, creator dish on DVD

Due Nov. 11, just in time for the holiday gift season, it weighs in at 10 pounds, with 86 episodes on 28 DVDs. Three CDs of soundtrack music. And two discs of bonus material, including 16 "lost" scenes, an interview of creator David Chase by Alec Baldwin, roundtable discussions with writers and stars and Sopranos spoofs from The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live and Mad TV. There's also a panel discussion from the Paley Center for Media among "Whacked Sopranos" actors reflecting on their regrettable but necessary exits.

But it won't come cheap: The suggested list price is $399.99, $100 more than the complete Sex and the City.
"It's really the biggest DVD gift set we have released to date, and that means both physically and metaphorically," says Sofia Chang, the channel's senior VP of DVD marketing. HBO is promising a huge marketing push for the release.

"We put a lot of work into it," creator David Chase tells USA TODAY. He conducted interviews for the extras early this year, about seven months after the surprising (and anticlimactic) finale aired on HBO.

Chase discusses with Baldwin his childhood, his early career and the show's history. And there's much discussion about the controversial final episode, which ended abruptly, midscene, as the Soprano family enjoyed a quiet meal in a diner.

Scenes rescued from the editing-room floor include Tony kissing Dr. Melfi in her office; Big Pussy being interrogated after a drug arrest; and Meadow visiting her ailing grandmother, Livia, in the hospital, where Janice falsely claims Tony tried to kill Livia, instead of the other way around.

Chase says he was surprised when he looked back how few filmed scenes he had left. He says most were cut because they "in some way emotionally hold up the show or derail it" or were "overexplaining" things when viewers "have an instinctive sense of what's going on."

Now Sopranos fans can only dream of a movie, given the box-office success of Sex and Chase's recently signed deal with Paramount Pictures, run by Sopranos producer Brad Grey.

"I'm not anxious to do one; I'm not looking to do one," Chase says. Never mind that star James Gandolfini has said he has moved on from Tony. "What I really don't want to give is the impression I'm being coy." The finale "makes it problematic to continue the story; I'm not interested in going forward." So any movie would go backward, set midway through the series' run.

"If something great came along, we might consider doing it," Chase says. "But we don't have people in rooms trying to come up with ideas."

Re: USA TODAY has DVD update

Thanks Bloodshot- this is really great! Especially this little tidbit:

•An unremarked feature of that final scene in the diner: "I forgot to put on Carmela's rings," says Falco, who had a bad cold that day. "Ten years on that show, and I have never not put those rings on. I was sure this was going to come up on some website. I'm surprised I didn't hear from somebody that it had some significance that I was not aware of."

She's right- i can't believe no one has mentioned it!! :icon_biggrin:

(No doubt she includes "The Chase Lounge" in her reference to "some website"!...).

However, seems to me that its such an important detail, that Chase would have made sure she got those rings on before filming if he really wanted Carmela to be wearing them in the final scene though...

Re: USA TODAY has DVD update

Maybe its like when Chase referred to his subconscious picking up elements germain to the storyline that at the time he himself didn't realize-- like his discussion of the possible "Last Supper" symbolism, etc.

Perhaps Chase noticed the missing rings and decided to go with the flow. Bringing it up might have thrown her off balance for acting such an important scene. There's no way if he wanted her to appear a certain way, that he would have let the scene be filmed without those rings.

Its kind of fitting that for their last scene Carm has left the symbols of her decorated, bejeweled, materialistic life back home before going out to the diner. And her wedding ring- was that missing too? - and all that represents? A freudian slip-up?

Re: USA TODAY has DVD update

richjcrouch wrote:Is this not the box set that is already out?

there is no box set out yet, is there? just the indivdual seasons. this one is all about xmas sales and won't be out till november. i'm really hoping that they have only let very little out concrning the chase interview and he gets quite detailed about the final episode.

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