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January 2013

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director's chair David Chase — Not Fade Away H By฀ IAIN BLAIR Making the jump to digital and features. Not Fade Away was edited by Sopranos editor Sidney Wolin on Avid Media Composer. 18 OLLYWOOD — What do you do for an encore after you've created one of the most influential and acclaimed TV series in history? If you're The Sopranos' godfather David Chase, you take a break and then write and direct a feature about your first love, rock music. The result is Not Fade Away, a period piece set in the mid-sixties about three New Jersey kids who form a band after watching the Rolling Stones on a TV show in 1964. While Chase's debut feature film stars The Sopranos lead James Gandolfini, along with John Margaro and Bella Heathcote, there are no mob hits, bullets, blood and killers — just a heartfelt tribute to the era with a killer soundtrack overseen by Sopranos alum and E Street Band co-founder Steven Van Zandt. Here, in an exclusive Post interview, Chase talks about making the film, his love of post and music, wigs and his childhood dreams of working as a drummer. POST: How would you describe this film, and what sort of film did you set out to make? DAVID CHASE: "It's hard to type it. I guess it's a coming-of-age story. I'd ask people, what's this movie's genre? I didn't even realize that 'coming-of-age' was a genre, like a thriller or action film. When I began it, I didn't really tackle it as a genre. I wanted to make a biopic about nobodies — people who weren't famous and who would never become famous." POST: Is it true you were a drummer in a New Jersey band, and that this is somewhat of an autobiographical story? CHASE: "It's true, I was a drummer. I rarely talk about all the details, but I played in high school. I took lessons in modern jazz, and then I went to college, and my mother and father sold my drums without even telling me! About a year later, The Beatles hit, and then my friends invited me to join their band as a drummer. But now I didn't even have drums. I used cardboard boxes, and we weren't really a band — just three guys who played in the basement. We never got out of there. We never even played one gig — paying or otherwise. We were a theoretical band. "So although I've said this isn't autobiographical in that the film's events actually happened, this is certainly very personal and how I felt at the time about music, and all the emotions I had." POST: What were the biggest challenges of making your debut film? CHASE: "Doing this was quite daunting. Post฀•฀January฀2013฀ Post0113_018,20-directors chairRAV3FINALREAD.indd 18 The big, daunting thing — the thing I was truly worried about more than anything else — was the wigs. We were afraid, and rightly so, that just one really bad wig would sink the whole movie. And we had to use wigs. We couldn't have the actors grow their hair long because we didn't shoot it in order.The movie times — meaning that it's harder to do 1963 than 1863. The latter period obviously doesn't look the same at all now, so you have to build all of it from scratch and recreate it all. But you can fool yourself that you're getting the right '60s look shooting in a small New York town, which we did for some of the scenes, Director David Chase on-set: "All the pre-production and shooting are quite stressful, and then you get in the edit bay, and post for me is where the real magic happens." goes from '63 to '68, so their hair gets a lot longer as time goes on, but we sometimes shot their earlier scenes last. All that made it very tricky, but I think it all worked and looks good in the end." POST: You directed the pilot and last episode of The Sopranos. What did you bring from your TV background to this? CHASE: "It really helped that the show was always very cinematic in terms of our visual approach and storytelling. Each episode was like a mini-movie in a way. By the end, The Sopranos became this big ship because we were so successful, so we got anything we wanted. We had 16, 20 days to shoot some of those episodes, whereas your usual hourshow gets a week tops. The schedule for this whole film was just 54 days, with all the locations and so on, so it didn't feel hugely different from making the show." POST: You shot this in New York and California. How tough was the actual shoot, considering it's a period piece? CHASE: "It went pretty smoothly, but because it's all a period piece, it's very difficult to do right, especially this far back in recent because the buildings are mostly the same. But they've actually changed a lot, and it takes a great deal of work to take out all the stuff of 2012 — all the signs, every little display and so on — to get it right." POST: This was your first time working with DP Eigil Bryld, who shot In Bruges and House of Cards. What did he bring to the mix? CHASE: "I don't know how he does it, but he works with a minimum of lighting, and we rarely waited on camera. Sometimes we had to wait for the data wranglers in the digital tent, but Eigil moved very quickly and yet gave every scene this beautiful, rich look." POST: Did you shoot film or digital, and what guided your choice? CHASE: "We shot on the Alexa, which worked great. Before we shot there was some talk about shooting on film. I'd never shot digitally before — we always shot The Sopranos on 35mm. So I was concerned about it and in two minds which way to go. We did some comparison tests, and both looked pretty similar. Because of all the music scenes we were doing, I felt that if we went digital, it would be far easier to just let the camera roll, not cut and 12/20/12 11:30 AM

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