Speaking on behalf of James Gandolfini's "crew that you loved so much, for the people at HBO, and Journey," "Sopranos" creator David Chase issued a moving eulogy to friends, fans and family of the late actor at Manhattan's Cathedral Church on Thursday morning. Calling Gandolfini his "brother," Chase recounted some of his favorite memories about him on set as Tony Soprano. Here's an excerpt from the full transcript, published by HitFix's Alan Sepinwall:
I also feel you're my brother in that we have different tastes, but there are things we both love, which was family, work, people in all their imperfection, food, alcohol, talking, rage, and a desire to bring the whole structure crashing down. We amused each other.
The image of my uncles and father reminded me of something that happened between us one time. Because these guys were such men — your father and these men from Italy. And you were going through a crisis of faith about yourself and acting, a lot of things, were very upset. I went to meet you on the banks of the Hudson River, and you told me, you said, "You know what I want to be? I want to be a man. That's all. I want to be a man." Now, this is so odd, because you are such a man. You're a man in many ways many males, including myself, wish they could be a man.
The paradox about you as a man is that I always felt personally, that with you, I was seeing a young boy. A boy about Michael's age right now. 'Cause you were very boyish. And about the age when humankind, and life on the planet are really opening up and putting on a show, really revealing themselves in all their beautiful and horrible glory. And I saw you as a boy — as a sad boy, amazed and confused and loving and amazed by all that. And that was all in your eyes. And that was why, I think, you were a great actor: because of that boy who was inside.
Chase wrapped the speech with a nod to the show: "You know, everybody knows that we always ended an episode with a song," he said.
"And the song, as far as I'm concerned, would be Joan Osborne's "(What If God Was) One Of Us?"
Read the full eulogy here.