"['The Sopranos'] was just this idea about a mobster in therapy... This was uncharted territory. I mean, all of a sudden the guy that your entire network is riding on is going to strangle somebody to death with a piece of piano wire? That had never been done… I said 'This guy is a mob boss in New Jersey. If he doesn't kill this guy, he's worthless as a mob boss. He's worthless as a TV gangster.' And I knew I was right about that."
About This Interview
In his nearly five-hour Archive interview, David Chase speaks about the films and television shows he watched growing up and the influence of rock 'n' roll in his early creative thinking. He talks of his move to Los Angeles and his work on low budget features, and discusses his struggle to get work, despite being part of the Writers Guild. He describes landing a job as a writer and story editor on Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and getting hired on The Rockford Files starting in season three - his first credit as a producer. Chase tells how the television movie Off the Minnesota Strip, a gritty drama that had been a critical success, led to a reassessment of his talent within the industry. He notes his various attempts to break into features, mainly with comedies he had written, but how their dark tone seemed to prevent them getting produced. He talks of his directorial debut on an episode of the 1980's version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and describes his trial-by-fire experience on that show. He recounts his work as a co-executive producer on the Joshua Brand/John Falsey-created series I'll Fly Away and Northern Exposure, and his attempts to mesh his sensibilities with those of the show creators. He speaks of the two-year development deal he had with Brillstein-Grey that got down to its very last day when HBO green-lit The Sopranos. He then details the conception of The Sopranos, which began as a feature script idea, then turned into a network series idea, and finally became a more-realistic cable television series idea. Chase outlines his narrative and stylistic concept for the series, and chronicles the series' characters and recurring themes. He comments on his writing style, the writing process on the show, and the main cast of actors including James Gandolfini and Nancy Marchand. He also shares his thoughts on the now-infamous final episode of The Sopranos and the use of the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'" in the final scene. Karen Herman conducted the interview in two parts on December 11, 2008 and April 29, 2009 in New York, NY.