You know how there are all of these amazingly brilliant shows on TV right now. There’s a reason for that. Many would give David Chase, the man behind “The Sopranos,” credit for ushering in a golden age of television and allowing for serious, adult shows like “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Game of Thrones” to exist.
This fall, Chase will unveil his first film, “Not Fade Away,” the only thing he’s produced since Journey played “The Sopranos” out in 2007. MTV News spoke with Chase for our Fall Movie Preview about his film, which tells the story of a young band of musicians during the 1960s, and why the music at the heart the movie is so important to him.
Why is this the story you tell for your first film?
I just love the music from the period. I always consider myself lucky to have been at a certain age when that music came out, the first British invasion. I love working with that music. One of my favorite things about working on ’The Sopranos’ was doing the music for it. Selfishly, I wanted to continue that by doing a movie that had a lot of music in it. Just being alive back then and how important music became to people back then. It played a central role in everyone’s life, radio and pop music, maybe more than today. Although, I really can’t say.
When did plans for “Not Fade Away” begin to come together?
After ’Sopranos’ was over, I had several ideas written down on paper. One of them just said ’band from New Jersey.’ I had tried to be in a band, when I was in my late teens, early twenties, and we never played one single gig anywhere. I guess you could call it a band, three of us, four of us sometimes. We played in this guy’s basement. We were so good that we decided not to play any place. That’s how good we were. We were like a super group, even though nobody knew about us. We decided that we weren’t going to waste our talent playing a bunch of high school gyms and things, so we never played anywhere. We were delusional.
How much of the film is inspired by your life?
It’s a personal film in that I love that music, and the songs in the film are very important to me. The covers that are done and what the band attempts, these are songs that I really loved. It doesn’t really pull from events in my life, expect there’s a storyline about a kid and his father. James Gandolfini plays a dad kind of like my father.
What was it like working with James Gandolfini again?
It was really good. It was a treat. He’s just so good, and I enjoy working with him. We understand each other, and I hadn’t seen him in a long time. One of the best things about doing it.
What was the casting process like for the lead roles?
Grueling. It has always been my belief that no matter what you’re doing. If you’re doing a film or a TV show, they always say ’Go with the actor.’ In other words, for the sake of the story and for the sake of the piece of film, you should go with the best actor, not the best person who could sing and also act, not the guy with the biggest name who can act, not the best looking guy who can act, just the guy who can play the part the best. We did that.
First we decided that we might try to find musicians who fit that bill, who could carry the part. We did a couple open readings for musicians all over. We put notice on the internet. People read and put themselves on tape. We didn’t find anybody that actually felt good for the central parts of the guys in the band. We didn’t anybody that could really carry the movie. They just didn’t have the acting chops.
Then we went the typical route, which is going through casting directors. We got very lucky that the main three characters, we cast three actors, who as it turned out, were really able to pick up drums and guitar very quickly.
“Not Fade Away” opens in limited release on December 21.