I had the pleasure of attending an event at the Museum of Television and Radio called "WHACKED" and evening with David Chase and the cast of "The Sopranos".
The evening focused on members of the cast who have been disposed of over the years.
Steve Buscemi (Cousin Tony Blundetto) Anaabella Sciorra (Gloria Trillo) Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy) David Proval (Richie Aprile) and Drea De Matteo (Adrianna La Cerva) joined David Chase and Terrence Winter onstage. The event was expertly and humorously moderated by Bryant Gumbel. I had the honor and pleasure to meet several of them before the event.
After a funny, sad, moving video montage that showed every character who has been killed on the show meeting their end Bryant stared a round robin discussion on the subject of being whacked on the show.
It was quite eye-opening to hear how the actors and writers dealt with the often emotional process of having the characters go and how it affected them as people, as actors, and writers how.
David Chase lent some fascinating insight on how he and the writers mapped out certain deaths. He made it clear that the story always ruled and that they never let a like or dislike of an actor or character play a part in their decision.
He revealed that originally Steve Buscemi's "Tony Blundetto" was scheduled to appear for two seasons, but when he had Tony kill "Billy Leotardo" he realized that he had "written himself into a corner" and Tony had to be whacked. Neither he or Buscemi were happy about it.
Bryant asked each actor what their next job was after the Sopranos and for me their answers to this question was one of the highlights of the night.
Pastore - "A really shitty independent movie. I made a mistake"
De Matteo - "That sitcom, people pushed me into it for all the wrong reasons...thank God its over"
Sciorra - "I complained for about two years"
Buscemi - "I'm not sure exactly what was next, but I have been maimed and killed in a ton of movies and I said to myself this would be the last one...I signed on with Michael Bay's The Island and sold out that idea immediately."
Proval - "My next job was to play a Rabbi on the West Wing. I was still wearing and holding Richie April, so to cleanse myself, when the scene was set and the people were in the pews, I looked at them and said.."what the fuck are you looking at, what the fuck is going on here". I thought they would get it, I thought the director would get it, they didn't.