David Chase has some strong feelings about the ending of The Sopranos.
Speaking at Vulture Fest on Sunday in New York, Chase revealed he gets “choked up” thinking about the show’s denouement.
“It’s always been this way for me,” Chase said of the final moments. “I’m filled with sadness when I see that ending. I get all choked up — just thinking about it, I get all choked up. That’s the dominant emotion I have.”
According to the Sopranos creator, that reaction comes from the way the scene is put together and not what it meant to his career. “The way the thing builds with the music and everything. To me, it gets me and makes me want to cry,” Chase said of the scene, which memorably features Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and ends with an abrupt cut to black that has been debated for years. “It’s not because, ‘Oh, there goes the show. There goes part of my life.’ It has nothing to do with that. It’s what’s on the screen.”
Chase didn’t provide any further insight on whether Tony Soprano lives or dies at the end of The Sopranos during the event, but did offer some thoughtful comments on star James Gandolfini, who died in June of 2013.
“He did not protect himself at all. He would do anything we asked him to do,” Chase recalled of what he first noticed about Gandolfini, who shot to fame playing Tony on the show. “There was a scene, that you guys never saw, in which he was supposed to go to the bathroom and masturbate. We shot it, and he was outraged and pissed off. … He did the scene and then we never used it. He never came to me and said, ‘A–hole, why’d you do that to me?’ Next time we asked him to something, he would fuss and feud about it but then he would do it. He just laid himself bare. That’s what I saw right away.”
Chase estimated that Gandolfini appeared in almost every scene in the series, but said Gandolfini was never comfortable being a star, and preferred to think of himself as working class.
“That’s where he really felt he belonged, and when he went beyond that he began to feel not himself — or he was abandoning other people,” Chase said. “I think being an actor is not, I guess, a working class job. I don’t know. He once said to me, this is when the show was at its hottest, and he was in not a good frame of mind. He said, I want to be a plumber. And he meant it.”