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GQ piece on Goodfellas (with comments from David Chase, Mich

Posted: Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:41 pm
by jouster
A great piece on Goodfellas in this month's GQ, and it's all online. Includes comments from much of the cast and crew, as well as David Chase. Here's some Sopranos-related tidbits:
Michael Imperioli (Spider): I don't know if I would have had the same career had I not done GoodFellas. Probably not. Would I have been cast on The Sopranos? Who knows if there would have been a Sopranos?
David Chase (creator, The Sopranos): Maybe that's my favorite line in the whole movie. I might as well have been back in my uncle's kitchen around a Formica tabletop at midnight. There was also something in the movie in which Pesci as Tommy is dressed to go out, and he comes into the scene, and Mrs. Scorsese as his mother says, "You're home?" [laughs] And he says, "Home? I'm leaving!" It was obvious that someone had lost their place there, and that was so clearly improvised. And it just worked. A lot of people might've cut and said, "That's a mistake, let's go back." A guy talking to his mother who's in her sixties, it was so perfect.
Chase: The sequence in GoodFellas—moving the cocaine, making the Sunday gravy, and taking care of the brother in the wheelchair, and dodging helicopters—the way music and film are used there, so that you actually feel you're high on coke? I don't think anybody's ever done that before or since. It's beautiful filmmaking.
Vincent Pastore (Man with coatrack): Marty saw something in us. Something like forty-five guys in GoodFellas got union cards because he wanted real people. They were real guys. And they were from Williamsbridge [the Bronx], and they were from Brooklyn, and they were from Little Italy, and that's what GoodFellas is all about.

Imperioli: Probably 80 percent of the cast ended up on The Sopranos. [laughs]

Chase: What made a mark was the absurd, in a way awful humor. And the home life: Paul Sorvino's house, the woodwork, him out in the backyard in his shorts, the barbecue grill, people coming over on Sunday—the Italian-American quotidian. The challenge was to make a good Mob series without stumbling over the cast at every turn. Because they were all so good, and they were all around. Frank [Vincent] had to wait four or five years before I felt Sopranos had established its own identity, and [Phil Leotardo] would now be perceived as a different character than Billy Batts. I also talked with Ray Liotta about the part that was ultimately played by Joe Pantoliano, Ralphie.
There's also annotated script pages, and some audio clips with highlights from the interviews (including one with Chase, about the music in the film). Well worth reading and hearing.