David Chase's (still-untitled) feature film debut

#1
From The Hollywood Reporter:
'Sopranos' creator to direct coming-of-age film

David Chase also wrote music-driven feature for Paramount

By Jay A. Fernandez
March 8, 2010, 06:07 PM ET


"Sopranos" creator David Chase has unveiled the nature of the feature film he's written and will direct for Paramount Pictures.

Nearly two years ago, after his award-winning HBO series had run its course, Chase signed to write, direct and produce a drama for the studio. That directorial debut will be a music-driven coming-of-age story set in the 1960s.

The untitled film will be released under the Paramount Vantage banner.

Mark Johnson ("Rain Man," "The Chronicles of Narnia") will produce with the UTA-repped Chase, who also has been a writer-producer on the series "Northern Exposure," "Almost Grown" and "The Rockford Files."
There's bits and pieces about this elsewhere, but it might as well have its own thread now. I'm obviously very excited for it. The flashbacks on The Sopranos were very well done, for the most part, and from what I've heard about the project so far it seems like a personal story for Chase.

The downside to this being that movies are often in production for a year or more, so that upcoming HBO mini-series might be a long time coming.

Re: David Chase's (still-untitled) feature film debut

#2
I got an email about this news, but you beat me to posting it. Thanks, jouster.

I'm glad to hear that a tentative start date has been announced. I'm anxious to see Mr. Chase's next project.

I'm sure his one-time ambition to make music his career, and his experience as a drummer in a rock band, will serve him well with this film. I don't know whether it's going to be a comedy in billing, but I'm betting here and now that it will be filled with the kind of intelligent, off-beat humor that so often popped up on the Sopranos.

And, needless to say, I'm probably even more intrigued with the Ribbon of Dreams project because it's going to give him a big enough canvas to use all his talents.:icon_biggrin:
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: David Chase's (still-untitled) feature film debut

#4
AJColossal wrote:Excited to see anything he does in the future.

I have a feeling that the next thing he does, for whatever reason, is not going to be this rousing crowd-pleaser that The Sopranos was. I can see him wanting to step back, try to be true to some artistic notion, and do something kind of challenging that may be baffling to people.

Anyone else get that feeling?


Definitely, AJColossal. I just don't think it's possible that anything else he does will have the kind of "lightning strike" appeal of the Sopranos because that phenomenon was a classic example of all kinds of factors -- many well beyond Chase's or anyone else's control -- coalescing to unite public interest with creative interests and corporate financial interests.

That won't be the case with either of these next two projects, although I'm sure there will be a lot of critical attention given to them because of the reputation Chase established among the "cognoscenti" as a true and consummate artist. I would expect very modest box office success (i.e., profitability) for the film, partly because it will be a fairly low budget movie by today's standards. But I can't imagine Chase doing anything that isn't at least mildly interesting to the core fans that appreciated all the subtleties in humor, character development, and film-making that Chase brought to the Sopranos.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"

Re: David Chase's (still-untitled) feature film debut

#5
Some new info, from Hitfix:
"Sopranos" mastermind David Chase has cast a trio of relative unknowns to topline his feature debut and reunited with an old pal for its music.

A currently untitled coming-of-age music-driven drama, Chase's Paramount Vantage project will begin production in January with John Magaro, Jack Huston and Will Brill starring.

The project, which reunites Chase with Paramount Chairman and CEO Brad Grey, comes from an original Chase script. Chase will produce along with Mark Johnson ("Rain Man"), as well as "Sopranos" co-star Steve Van Zandt, who will act as the film's musical supervisor.

"It’s exciting to be working with Brad Grey again, doing my first feature. I look back with pleasure on our last outing," Chase says in a Paramount statement. "I am also thrilled to be working with Steven again, especially on this particular subject. It’s not just that we both worship the same songs and bands from the era -- it’s that he obviously knows so much. About every aspect. He embodies a particular spirit of a particular kind of rock and roll. He actually is that spirit."

Grey adds, "Everyone at Paramount is proud that our studio will be the home of David’s first feature. He is a gifted story-teller and a great friend. His talent, along with Steven’s, promises something uniquely insightful and entertaining. We are all looking forward to a great picture and I am personally looking forward to working with them both again."

The three leads were cast after a nationwide talent search. This will be Brill's feature debut. Magaro is appearing in Wes Craven's "My Soul To Take." And Huston (nephew of Anjelica Huston and Danny Huston), was most recently seen in "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" and is currently appearing in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

The Chase project was first announced back in May of 2008. The Emmy winner most recent signed on to write and executive produce "A Ribbon of Dreams," a movie-driven HBO miniseries, though that project was announced in March of 2009 and nothing has been mentioned since.

Re: David Chase's (still-untitled) feature film debut

#6
David Chase (section: Twylight Zones) - Wikipedia

James Gandolfini reuniting with The Sopranos creator David Chase for movie that is cruelly not the The Sopranos - AV Club

Of course I don't agree with the title of the AV Club article. I like that Chase is continuing to use people you wouldn't normally think of as actors, like Lisa Lampanelli, because the Sopranos surprised us with that over and over again. I have confidence he still has that sixth sense about people and his projects. Also, I'm excited that he's using Christopher McDonald, as I think he's criminally underrated and excellent even in the worst stuff he's been in. We'll definitely be seeing this in the theater, and there are few movies I say that about anymore.
What violin?!

Re: David Chase's (still-untitled) feature film debut

#8
So the movie's out now, it's called "Not Fade Away". I have yet to see it, I decided to wait for the DVD since it seems like a relatively small-scale film. One little Sopranos connection I noticed is that it has Jack Huston, who is currently on Boardwalk Empire, created by Terence Winter.
Taps, lights out, 2200 hours. What's missing? Give up? Television.

Re: David Chase's (still-untitled) feature film debut

#9
FlyOnMelfisWall wrote:Definitely, AJColossal. I just don't think it's possible that anything else he does will have the kind of "lightning strike" appeal of the Sopranos because that phenomenon was a classic example of all kinds of factors -- many well beyond Chase's or anyone else's control -- coalescing to unite public interest with creative interests and corporate financial interests.

That won't be the case with either of these next two projects, although I'm sure there will be a lot of critical attention given to them because of the reputation Chase established among the "cognoscenti" as a true and consummate artist. I would expect very modest box office success (i.e., profitability) for the film, partly because it will be a fairly low budget movie by today's standards. But I can't imagine Chase doing anything that isn't at least mildly interesting to the core fans that appreciated all the subtleties in humor, character development, and film-making that Chase brought to the Sopranos.


Couldn't have put it better, AJ & Fly! And having just gottten the DVD and seeing it yesterday (twice with plans to see it again very soon) it's to be as expected from those who know what kind of artist he truly is - Brilliant yet certainly not mainstream-friendly. $20 million to make yet only has yielded about $600K so far. It was barely in any theatres when it was released just before Christmas and the theaters it was shown in seemed to pull it out before the New Year already. Can only hope that DVD sales cut the losses. Pretty obvious the passion Chase has for music. It only makes sense his film debut has him giving his semi-autobiographical take on how that very passion of his was shaped growing up in North Jersey in the '60s. Chase chooses the most sensible starting point for the film - just weeks after JFK's assassination on the eve of the British Invasion (actually, I think first 2 or 3 scenes are set in '62, sorry) - and takes the still-in-high-school lead character, Doug, his drumset, and the band that he'll very soon join, into the 'times-a-changin' journey ahead ending off at about a year past the Summer of Love. A scene that has Doug asking his girlfriend in a movie theatre why the independent film they're seeing doesn't have an orchestra to alert the viewer with her response being that "the trees are the music" is an obvious nod to Chase's approach as an artist.

James Gandolfini plays the role as Doug's father. Safe to say the character is Tony Soprano if he was born 40 years earlier but as a 'working-stiff' instead. Like T, he also never left North Jersey and is quite a ball-breaker to his son quite like he was to AJ, giving him a hard time upon he coming home from college for the first time sporting a Dylan mop saying (more than just once in the film) he looks like he just came off the boat at Ellis Island amongst other one-liners reminiscent of the ones directed at AJ. There also is a scene, quite touching by the way, where he's eating ice cream on his living room couch while watching an old movie, South Pacific ('Bali Ha'i' playing). Molly Price's performance as the hysterical mother always talking suicide begs one at ask why she herself never had a role on the Sopranos.

Stevie Van Zandt's collaboration with Chase as music supervisor and exec producer is quite vital to this period-piece. A key example, to me, is a two-scene sequence with Left Banke's 'Pretty Ballerina' backdropping the former, Mother Earth's 'Down So Low' the latter - my favorite sequence of the entire film. Van Zandt also writes a song for the film, 'The St Valentine's Day Massacre', serving as an original song written by Doug which he and the band end up performing.

Robert Funaro ('Eugene') sporting a mustache actually and Louis Mustillo ('Sal Vitro') are two Sopranos guys playing bit roles each as uncles of Doug's with Christopher McDonald playing a slightly bigger role than both as the father of Doug's girlfriend. You're right, Corky. Chris McDonald is quite underrated being good in even the bad roles he's in. A shame he didn't have a much bigger role in Sopranos other than that very brief appaearance (a single episode, one diner scene, I believe) as one of Christopher's rehab partners. Jack Huston from Boardwalk Empire plays a role as a key member in the band that Doug joins.

I'm sure nobody on these boards will be disappointed with 'Not Fade Away', especially if you don't go into it expecting a 'smooth', 'easy' viewing. A film I can compare this with - a counter-point perhaps - is one that was released at the same time as this one back in December and by another big name, Judd Apatow. That film being 'This is 40'. Over 2 hours, actually, this film also doesn't play by 'the rules'. Same can be said for his 'Funny People' as well. Brilliant works, just not commercially appealing nor at all tries to be. Just like Chase will likely never hit paydirt like he did with Sopranos again (unless he does a prequel which I do think, actually, will lore the ma$$es back in) looks like Apatow will never have a '40 Year Old Virgin' again either. And that's fine with me.

Re: David Chase's (still-untitled) feature film debut

#10
Thanks for that thorough review, BFazio. The film never came to a theater near me (no surprise), and I've been off the radar as much as the film, so I kind of forgot about it. Sorry it didn't do a little better at the box office.

I may hold out and see if HBO picks it up but, if not, I'm sure I'll pick up the DVD sometime this year, maybe even put it on an Amazon birthday wish list this summer for a family member to foot the bill.:icon_biggrin: I did listen to a Chase podcast interview about the film done with that Elvis Mitchell guy, who also interviewed him about the Sopranos, around season 5 IIRC.
Tony, his spirits crushed after b-lining to the fridge first thing in the morning: "Who ate the last piece of cake?"
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