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BUY TONY SOPRANO’S SUBURBAN, DAVID CHASE SPEAKS & JAMES GANDOLFINI PRODUCES

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Signed by James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano’s Suburban is being sold at auction, beginning August 03. I haven’t read/heard that there’s a test or otherwise some ceremony involved, so it looks like everyone can breath easy as long as they have the f***in money.

Story and photos from AUTO BLOG (“Be like Tony Soprano. Drive His Truck“).

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Related and interesting, from forbes.com, TEN MEMORABLE CAR SCENES FROM ‘THE SOPRANOS‘.

After a month-plus deep breather, David Chase speaks (or spoke, since this event is from last week) about THE SOPRANOS Finale (Episode 86, MADE IN AMERICA).

I’m immensely pleased that what Chase says about the infamous ending is similar to what I wrote about it here after the Finale was first broadcast (that the events, the program, the Series, the story, just stopped).

Interesting article from New Jersey’s Star Ledger, A CHASE SCENE AT CRITICS’ CONFAB — it’s also funny to read that David Chase had the very.same.reaction I did after first viewing the ending to the original (1968 release) PLANET OF THE APES:

Saturday night the press tour went on pause for the Television Critics Association Awards, a swingin’ event where the critics try to put right what the Emmys got wrong….

In the early days of the TCA Awards, back in the early’80s, the event was so small-time that none of the winners bothered to show up. Nowadays, it’s such a (relatively) big event that David Chase flew back from France to accept a couple of awards for “The Sopranos.”

The Awards can be an odd, semi-working event, where half the critics are holding highball glasses and the other half tape recorders. The first year “Sopranos” won at the TCAs, James Gandolfini showed up and was horrified to be surrounded by a four-deep scrum; he’s never come back.

Given the amount of fascination that continues to surround the final “Sopranos” scene — not to mention Chase’s disinterest in explaining it — everyone wondered whether Chase would be brave — or foolish — enough to show up for the pre-awards cocktail hour, or if he’d just be airlifted in and out for the ceremony itself.

Not surprisingly, he chose the latter, entering the ballroom mere seconds before the ceremony began. (Rumor had it that his “people” had done a walkthrough of the hotel the day before to map out the best vertical insertion and exit strategy.)

For the show’s first award, for Outstanding Drama Series, Chase came up on stage with his writing staff, producers, and Edie Falco and Lorraine Bracco. As every critic in the room leaned on the edge of their chairs, he stepped to the podium and said, “Here’s another clue for you all — the Walrus was Paulie.” (Read the lyrics to The Beatles’ “Glass Onion” if you didn’t get that one.)

He turned the rest of that speech over to writer Terence Winter.

A half-hour later, it was time for the presentation of The Heritage Award, our equivalent of a lifetime achievement award for a series. I had been asked to present that one, and after I invited Chase and company back on stage, I stepped to the side, thinking my work was done.

I was wrong.

Instead of addressing the crowd, Chase turned to me and asked, “You’re from New Jersey, right?”

“Yessss?” I said, not sure where he was going with this.

“Would you tell everybody,” he asked, “that it is possible — in fact, very likely — to be sitting in a restaurant in New Jersey and everything just stops?”

At that point, Chase got semi-serious, thanking his amazing cast and crew, then got one last big laugh at the expense of the cryptic final scene:

“Somebody said it would be a good idea if we said something about the ending. I really wasn’t going to go into it. But I’ll just say this: When I was going to Stanford University graduate film school, 23 years old, I went and saw ‘Planet of the Apes’ with my wife. When the movie was over I said, ‘Wow, so they had a Statue of Liberty, too.’ So that’s what you’re up against.”

After that, Chase exited the room like it was Saigon on the day of the fall…

150wde_JamesGandolfini_Mar2007 From James Gandolfini — who has departed the character of Tony Soprano for new characters and projects, including producing (and directing) films under his Attaboy Films production company — comes ALIVE DAY MEMORIES, HOME FROM IRAQ to be broadcast this September 9th on HBO.

It looks to be a heartwarming and emotionally moving HBO documentary. Among my favorite quotes from the press I’ve read are these from Gandolfini in this article from the Chicago Tribune, JAMES GANDOLFINI TALKS ABOUT HIS NEXT PROJECT:

…An electrical charge coursed through the HBO party on Thursday when “Sopranos” star Gandolfini finally arrived, more than two hours after reporters had begun gnawing skewers full of grilled things and pestering the “Entourage” cast for sound bites.

Gandolfini famously doesn’t like talking to the press. He simply seems uncomfortable with anyone making a fuss about him. During the “Alive Day Memories” press panel, he deflected questions aimed at him and gently but firmly returned the spotlight to the veterans with whom he shared the stage.

Nobody asked about “The Sopranos”. It would have seemed churlish, given the weight of the topic at hand. (Actually, TV writer Ed Bark, proprietor of UncleBarky.com, did ask Gandolfini about “Sopranos” as the actor left the ballroom, but was politely told to “put that to rest.” I recommend reading Bark’s entire post — he puts Gandolfini’s press-shy nature in much better context than I ever could.)

It’s telling that, given all the things he could be doing with his post-“Sopranos” career, he gave his time to veterans who have served in Iraq (a place that he has also visited on goodwill tours). And despite not having a huge fondness for the press, he came to the HBO party and was gracious and willing to speak about the film, which has him in discussion with 10 different Iraq veterans, including 26 year old Rolling Meadows native and Army veteran Bryan Anderson.

When asked why viewers should tune into this film, Gandolfini paused for several moments before answering.

“There’s a lot of negative stuff about kids these days, about how America’s children are growing up. If you tune into this show, you’ll see some of the best that America has to offer,” Gandolfini said.

Did he think the public has paid enough attention to what the veterans have been through?

“I have faith in the American public,” he said, then he paused again to search for the right words. “I just think maybe we’re a little behind in getting stuff out there.”

I said that thanks to his name being on the show, there was a good chance that many more people would watch this documentary than otherwise might have done so. “I hope so,” he said. “They’re smart, smart kids.”

ALIVE DAY MEMORIES, to be broadcast September 9, 2007 on HBO.

I’ll surely be watching.

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