Sometime recently (i.e., apparently after Sunday night’s Sopranos finale, which indicates yesterday), the Newark Star Ledger‘s Alan Sepinwall spoke to Sopranos creator David Chase in France, “where he’s fled to avoid ‘all the Monday morning quarterbacking’ about the show’s finale.”
Following this interview, Sepinwall writes, “Chase intends to go into radio silence, letting the work — especially the controversial final scene — speak for itself.
Except it doesn’t speak for itself. Not in any commonly decipherable sort of way. If it did there wouldn’t be so many thousands of people arguing what happened in that last scene. So let’s call a spade a spade: Chase is a gifted filmmaker who talks like a straight-shooter when in fact he’s an artful dodger and a bit of a film-flammer. (No offense, Chase, if you’re reading this.)
There is, however, one possible major “tell” in Sepinwall’s piece. Chase says one problem in doing a movie version is that “over the last season Chase [as] killed so many key characters.” Chase, says Sepinwall, “has toyed with the idea of ‘going back to a day in 2006 that you didn’t see, but then (Tony’s children) would be older than they were then and you would know that Tony doesn’t get killed. It’s got problems.”
Is Chase saying what I think he’s saying — that Tony “doesn’t get killed” and therefore wasn’t killed two nights ago?
“‘I have no interest in explaining, defending, reinterpreting, or adding to what is there,’ Chase says of the final scene.
“‘No one was trying to be audacious, honest to God,’ Chase adds. ‘We did what we thought we had to do. No one was trying to blow people’s minds, or thinking, ‘Wow, this’ll piss them off.’ People get the impression that you’re trying to fuck with them and it’s not true. You’re trying to entertain them.’
In Sunday night’s final scene, Tony Soprano waited at a Bloomfield ice cream parlor for his family to arrive, one by one. What was a seemingly benign family outing was shot and cut as the preamble to a tragedy, with Tony suspiciously eyeing one patron after another, the camera dwelling a little too long on Meadow’s parallel parking and a man in a Members Only jacket’s walk to the men’s room.
Just as the tension had been ratched up to unbearable levels, the series cut to black in mid-scene (and mid-song) with no resolution.
“‘Anybody who wants to watch it, it’s all there,’ says Chase, 61, who based the series in general (and Tony’s relationship with mother Livia specifically) on his North Caldwell childhood.
“Some fans have already assumed that the ambiguous ending was Chase setting up the oft-rumored Sopranos movie, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.
“‘I don’t think about (a movie) much,’ he says. ‘I never say never. An idea could pop into my head where I would go, ‘Wow, that would make a great movie,’ but I doubt it.
“I’m not being coy,” he adds. “If something appeared that really made a good Sopranos movie and you could invest in it and everybody else wanted to do it, I would do it. But I think we’ve kind of said it and done it.”