Thursday night I was lucky enough to attend the Washington screening of The Sopranos, featuring the first two episodes, "Soprano Home Movies" and "Stage Five" (which I had previously reviewed for The Daily Standard). This was followed by a dinner and Q&A with writer/creator David Chase. Sadly, we were all informed this would be off the record and so I am unable to share any insights about Tony's death at the hands of his nephew Christopher. Kidding.
Chase directed this season's first and last episodes (they just finished the read-through for the latter). During the Q&A, he was very soft-spoken, mild-mannered, and weary-looking. The questions (I was not picked) were fairly explicit about details from as far back as season one but Chase didn't miss a beat. (I wondered if he would react the way William Shatner did in the SNL Star Trek convention skit.) And no, he did not even hint about how it will end. I think the guests genuinely enjoyed the screening, particularly the first episode, which one veteran Washington pundit told me was already "much better than last season." Perhaps it was the whole coma sequence. Or maybe he didn't like Johnny Cakes. Best of all, we went home with a goody bag that included last season on DVD.
For my fellow Sopranos fans, you will definitely enjoy the next two episodes. And keep an eye out for Phil Leotardo's right-hand man, Butch Deconcini, played by actor Greg Antonacci. For some reason, he terrifies me (probably has to do with his crooked eye) and I am betting he will do something very bad before all is said and done. (Also be sure to enjoy Phil's lecture about the bastardization of his family name in episode two. I don't know how Frank Vincent does this with a straight face.)
45 minutes ago