I'm salivating over the release of The Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark.  We have to wait until September 24th of this year. If you start now you can binge re-watch and freshen up for the prequel!  When it comes out you'll have a few options, you'll be able to watch young Tony Soprano's early years in Newark in the 60's streaming on HBO Max, 4K Ultra HD and HDR the same day as the film is released in cinemas, of course you could actually go to the movies, or the other option is waiting for a month and it will be available on TV (boooo).  This got me thinking, to maximize the Jersey Sopranos experience, we should dig into some really cool show facts you may not have known. I'm a super fan, and some of these were news to even me.

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DAVID CHASE ONLY DIRECTED THE PILOT AND FINALE

David Chase only directed two episodes!  He directed the pilot and the finale (which was massively debated years later as being one of the worst endings of all time) I personally liked the ending, but I think I'm in the minority there. Tim Van Patten, who has directing credits on Game of Thrones, The Wire, and Boardwalk Empire, directed 20 episodes, Allen Coulter directed 12, Steve Buscemi directed four episodes (which I never knew... he actually directed the incredible "Pine Barrens" episode). One episode was directed by a woman, Lorraine Senna, she handled "Down Neck."

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THE SOPRANOS USED 28 CAST MEMBERS FROM GOODFELLAS ON THE SHOW

Goodfellas is my favorite movie of all time (I've seen it no less than 20 times) and you bet I was counting the characters that crossed over to The Sopranos.  There were 28 crossover characters...six of which were regulars (Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Vincent Pastore, Frank Vincent, and Joseph R. Gannascoli).  Side note, I saw Michael Imperioli in person at The Feast of San Gennaro before COVID...he was a small guy in size but not swag...that cat owned the place. It was pretty cool to watch.

THE E-STREET BAND'S STEVEN VAN ZANDT WAS DAVID CHASE'S FIRST PICK FOR TONY SOPRANO
Before he auditioned James Gandolfini, Chase wanted Steven Van Zandt, guitar player of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, to play Tony. They ended up writing a part for Van Zandt since the brass did not want to roll the dice on a first time actor. Al least we got Silvio Dante out of it!

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LORRAINE BRACCO WAS ORIGINALLY ASKED TO PLAY CARMELA
After playing Karen in Goodfellas, Sopranos producers originally saw Lorraine Bracco as Tony's wife, Carmela (I would too). It was Bracco who asked to play Tony's therapist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, because it would be more of a challenge.  She nailed it.

THE BADA-BING SCENES WERE FILMED AT A REAL NEW JERSEY STRIP CLUB

I knew this one but it was worth mentioning again, The Sopranos was often filmed on location in Jersey at "The Bing" a real strip club in Lodi. The real name of the joint is "Satin Dolls".

TO SETTLE MONEY DISPUTES OVER ACTOR SALARIES, JAMES GANDOLFINI GAVE EACH ACTOR $33,333 OF HIS OWN MONEY.

This may be the coolest find...After season 4, production on The Sopranos was held up due to cast members holding out for more money with HBO. to help solve the problem, Gandolfini had a sit down with the cast and agreed to split his bonus among all the regular cast members, which gave them each $33,333.  He handled that like a boss.

DURING THE FIRST THREE SEASONS, THE WORLD TRADE CENTER IS IN TONY'S REARVIEW MIRROR IN THE OPENING CREDITS

This one gives me chills and actually makes me want to cry. As Tony leaves the Lincoln Tunnel the Twin Towers can be seen in his rearview mirror. Sadly, this shot was removed beginning with the first episode following the terrorist attacks.

Who's psyched? I'll have snacks, wine and a date with my TV on September 24th...I'm soooo glad it's on a Friday night! Fuhgeddaboudit.

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