- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
After production on the anticipated The Many Saints of Newark paused, writer and Sopranos showrunner David Chase kept working on the prequel film to his famed six-season HBO series, which was garnering its own renewed attention thanks to a swell of pandemic bingers.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, Chase shared that as a creative who second-guesses himself, a year of sitting on the film was actually OK, but that getting back to shooting additional pages he had written felt “good.”
“It felt okay. I didn’t want to tackle the problems and I wasn’t anxious to tackle them as well,” he said. “I had written 15 additional pages to be shot to augment the movie that existed. It was good to get those shots once COVID had settled out.”
While the pandemic was busy impacting the prequel’s filming schedule, it also helped introduce Chase’s hit show to a whole new generation, who brought it renewed attention with their memes and fan accounts. Although the critically acclaimed show has long been credited with raising the bar for TV writing and opening the door to more small screen “prestige” content, the resurgence of interest in The Sopranos may have actually been driven by something other than it’s acclaim.
When asked whether the HBO series’ focus on therapy — particularly during a time of increased public conversations around personal and collective mental health — may have played a role in why so many had turned to the show during the pandemic, Chase admitted he “never thought of that,” but acknowledged it as “a good point.”
“I do know that therapists had a huge upsurge in male clientele [during the show’s run]. They told us that. We were given an award by the American Psychoanalytic Association, and they told us that business was up,” he said.
As for what he thought may have attributed all that pandemic Sopranos love, the writer, director and producer said, “Well, I’d like to attribute it to the fact that the show is that good.”
During the interview, Chase also spoke about another element of the past year that his prequel is connected to: protests for racial justice. Set during the Newark Riots of 1967, Chase said his return to the Sopranos universe with The Many Saints of Newark was influenced by his own experiences as a 22-year-old taking his wife into Newark during those four days of civil unrest.
“I remember some friends of mine saying — I was 22 years old at that time — ‘I hope they burned the place down,'” Chase said of the revolutionary spirit energy around that time. “It was bad. Newark — it was bad. To see Black people living that way, it was bad.”
So how did Chase feel about the events of last summer, which have been described as one of the biggest social justice protests in history?
“What was going through my head was, ‘God, it is still the same. I can’t believe it,'” he said. “And I was surprised at how few young Black people that we worked with didn’t know anything about the Newark riots. This one young woman said, ‘Well, you know, I went to a private school in Manhattan,’ and I said, ‘Well, that’s the school’s fault and your parents fault that you don’t know about it.'”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day