"The Sopranos" creator reflects on the series' much-debated ending VIDEO
In a recent interview with David Chase about his new film, “Not Fade Away,” the conversation inevitably turned to “The Sopranos” and its infamous ending. Below are Chase’s comments reflecting on watching the final episode for the first time two years ago, with only an occasional interjection from a reporter.
I thought the episode itself might have been kind of a dud, but it wasn’t. I was proud of it. I was satisfied that we’d done something. What I didn’t understand was that the ending would be so talked-about that it would completely obliterate the rest of the episode that came before it. No one ever even saw it, talked about it, mentioned it or anything about it – and I think didn’t even interpret it correctly because all they talked about was that ending. I did not know that would happen.
I think a lot of people thought they were being made a fool of, that I was being really meta – is that the word? – and postmodern or just showing my quote-unquote “contempt” for the audience or going “Ha, ha, ha. It’s just a TV show.” None of that was what was going on. That was the best ending I knew to come up with and I thought it said some things but people didn’t get it because they were angry. Or maybe it wasn’t executed well.
I do wish that connection had been made better. To me the question is not whether Tony lived or died, and that’s all that people wanted to know: “Well, did he live or did he die? You didn’t finish the show. You didn’t answer the question.” That’s preposterous. There was something else I was saying that was more important than whether Tony Soprano lived or died. About the fragility of all of it. The whole show had been about time in a way, and the time allotted on this Earth. That whole trip out to California was all about that – what people called a dream sequence. And all the dream sequences within the show. Tony was dealing in mortality every day. He was dishing out life and death. And he was not happy. He was getting everything he wanted, that guy, but he wasn’t happy. All I wanted to do was present the idea of how short life is and how precious it is. The only way I felt I could do that was to rip it away. And I think people did get it. It made them upset emotionally, but intellectually they didn’t follow it. And that could very well be bad execution.
Did Tony die or didn’t he die? Well, first of all, it really comes down to this: There was, what, six seasons of that show? Seven? Am I supposed to do a scene and ending where it shows that crime doesn’t pay? Well, we saw that crime pays. We’ve been seeing that for how many years? Now, in another sense, we saw that crime didn’t pay because it wasn’t making him happy. He was an extremely isolated, unhappy man. And then finally, once in a while he would make a connection with his family and be happy there. But in this case, whatever happened, we never got to see the result of that. It was torn away from him and from us. I forget what my point was.
(AP: That the meaning of the show didn’t have to be there in that final moment. It was there all along.)
Exactly. That’s what I felt. It’s really about time, to me – just to me – and love. What else do we have in this universe? It’s a cold universe. People said, “Oh, the show is so dark,” and it posited the notion that nobody ever changes. That was never my intention. Change is hard to come by, and like most of us, he wasn’t trying hard enough. People said, “Oh, it got worse and worse and worse.” I think he’s the same guy in the beginning as he was in the end. Maybe had a little bit more capacity for compassion for people, I don’t know.
I said it’s a cold universe and I don’t mean that metaphorically. If you go out into space, it’s cold. It’s really cold and we don’t know what’s up there. We happen to be in this little pocket where there’s a sun. What have we got except love and each other to guard against all that isolation and loneliness?
More Related Stories
- How Dan Savage lost it
- Nancy Jo Sales on L.A. celeb robbers: "The Bling Ring kids were depressed"
- “Arrested Development,” hurry up and get here so you can stop being so annoying
- Must-do's: What we like this week
- Josh Ritter makes his "Blood on the Tracks"
- I don't hate millennials anymore!
- What's 2013's "Gone Girl"? Here are this summer's best reads
- Fox executive behind "Does Someone Have to Go?" leaving the network
- Hillary Clinton memoir shows up on Amazon
- A brief history of Jennifer Weiner's literary fights
- First look: Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard shine in "The Immigrant”
- No women allowed: Summer music festivals are dudefests, again
- Vivica A. Fox tapes anti-gun PSA in front of poster for her movie
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Mariah Carey's rambling, cursing, dress-popping "Good Morning America" concert
- Fox's new reality TV show threatens regular people with unemployment
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Steamy lesbian-sex movie has Cannes abuzz
- Stop what you're doing and go watch "Borgen"
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11