Conception[ edit ] David Chase had worked as a television producer for more than 20 years before creating The Sopranos. In , he wrote and directed the television film The Rockford Files: Chase won his first Emmy Award in for his work on The Rockford Files shared with fellow producers and his second for writing the television film Off the Minnesota Strip. I want to tell the story about the reality of being a mobster—or what I perceive to be the reality of life in organized crime.
They aren't shooting each other every day. They sit around eating baked ziti and betting and figuring out who owes who money. Occasionally, violence breaks out—more often than it does in the banking world, perhaps. David Chase , creator and showrunner of The Sopranos  The story of The Sopranos was initially conceived as a feature film about "a mobster in therapy having problems with his mother. Jennifer Melfi after his own psychiatrist. He also was raised on classic gangster films , such as The Public Enemy , and the crime series The Untouchables.
The series is partly inspired by the Boiardo family , a prominent New Jersey organized crime family when Chase was growing up, and partly on New Jersey's DeCavalcante family. He's inherited a business from his dad.
He's trying to bring it into the modern age. He's got all the responsibilities that go along with that. He's got an overbearing mom that he's still trying to get out from under. Although he loves his wife, he's had an affair. He's got two teenage kids, and he's dealing with the realities of what that is. He's anxious; he's depressed; he starts to see a therapist because he's searching for the meaning of his own life. During this time, Chase considered asking HBO for additional funding to shoot 45 more minutes of footage and release The Sopranos as a feature film.
In December , HBO decided to produce the series and ordered 12 more episodes for a episode season. The Sopranos was the second hour-long television drama series produced by HBO, the first being the prison drama Oz. Chase[ edit ] North Jersey prosecutor and municipal judge Robert Baer filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Chase in Trenton, New Jersey federal court, alleging that he helped to create the show.
Baer lost the suit, but he won a ruling that a jury should decide how much he should be paid for services as a location scout , researcher, and story consultant. Baer argued that he had introduced Chase to Tony Spirito a restaurateur and gambler with alleged mob ties and Thomas Koczur a homicide detective for the Elizabeth Police Department , with whom Chase had conducted interviews and tours which strongly inspired some characters, settings, and storylines portrayed in The Sopranos.
Like the characters they portray on the show, many of the actors on The Sopranos are Italian American. Many cast members had appeared together in films and television series before joining the cast of The Sopranos.
The series shares a total of 27 actors with the Martin Scorsese gangster film , Goodfellas , including main cast members Lorraine Bracco , Michael Imperioli , and Tony Sirico. Actors often did not know whether Chase liked their performances or not.
I thought, I'm not getting this. So he said, 'Thank you,' and I left. I didn't expect to hear back. And then they called. She took the role of Dr. Jennifer Melfi instead because she wanted to try something different and felt the part of the highly educated Dr. Melfi would be more of a challenge for her. Van Zandt, who had never acted before, originally auditioned for the role of Tony Soprano but HBO felt the role should go to an experienced actor.
He was deeply involved with the general production of every episode and is noted for being a very controlling, demanding, and specific producer. Writing team and married couple Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess worked on the series as writers and producers from the first to the fifth season; they had previously worked with Chase on Northern Exposure. He practiced law for two years before deciding to pursue a career as a screenwriter, and he caught the attention of Chase through writer Frank Renzulli.
He wrote a spec script for the series Mad Men in The script was passed on to Chase who was so impressed that he immediately offered Weiner a job as a writer for The Sopranos. Imperioli wrote five episodes of seasons two through five, and Kalem wrote one episode of season five. In total, 20 writers or writing teams 22 people are credited with writing episodes of The Sopranos.
Of these, Tim Van Patten and Maria Laurino receive a single story credit, and eight others are credited with writing a sole episode. The most prolific writers of the series were Chase 30 credited episodes, including story credits , Winter 25 episodes , Green and Burgess 22 episodes , Weiner 12 episodes , and Renzulli 9 episodes.
Many of the directors had previously worked on television series and independent films. That's what you do with feature films. Music on The Sopranos The Sopranos is noted for its eclectic music selections and has received considerable critical attention for its effective use of previously recorded songs. While the show utilizes a wealth of previously recorded music, it is also notable for its lack of originally composed incidental music , compared to other television programs.
The first, titled The Sopranos: It contains selections from the show's first two seasons and reached 54 on the U. This double-disc album contains songs and selected dialogue from the show's first three seasons. As such, a business arrangement was worked out with the owner.
After the destruction of Vesuvio within the context of the series, Artie opened a new restaurant called Nuovo Vesuvio; exterior scenes set there were filmed at an Italian restaurant called Punta Dura located in Long Island City. Numerous landmarks in and around Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey , are then shown passing by the camera as Tony drives down the highway.
Chase has said that the goal of the title sequence was to show that this particular mafia show was about New Jersey , as opposed to New York, where most similar dramas have been set. After the September 11, attacks , this shot was removed and replaced with a more generic shot, beginning with the show's fourth season.
List of The Sopranos characters The Sopranos features a large cast of characters, many of whom get significant amounts of character development—regardless of level of importance. Some only appear in certain seasons, while others appear sporadically or constantly throughout the entire series. All characters were created by David Chase , unless otherwise noted.
Tony Soprano James Gandolfini is the series' protagonist. Tony is one of the capos and the unofficial underboss of the New Jersey -based DiMeo crime family , at the beginning of the series; he eventually becomes its undisputed boss. He is also the patriarch of the Soprano household. Throughout the series, Tony struggles to balance the conflicting requirements of his family — wife Carmela , daughter Meadow , son A. Jennifer Melfi Lorraine Bracco , in the show's first episode.
She treats Tony to the best of her ability despite the fact that they routinely clash over various issues. Melfi is usually thoughtful, rational and humane—a stark contrast to Tony's personality. Tony, a serial womanizer, occasionally divulges his sexual attraction to Dr. Melfi; Melfi harbors some degree of attraction to Tony, too, but never admits or acts on it.
Melfi is far more attracted to Tony's dangerousness and power. She is drawn to the challenge of helping such an unusual client, and naively assumes that their doctor-patient relationship will not affect her personal life in any way. Both have up-and-down relationships with their two children: Robert Iler ,  whose everyday teenage issues are further complicated by their eventual knowledge of their father's criminal activities and reputation.
The starring cast includes members of Tony's extended family, including: Both 'Livia and Janice are scheming, treacherous, shrewd manipulators with major-yet-unaddressed psychological issues of their own. The single-mindedly ambitious Uncle Junior is chronically frustrated by having not been made boss of the DiMeo family, despite old-school mob traditions entitling him to the position by virtue of seniority.
He feels his authority is perpetually undermined by Tony's greater influence in the organization, and barely contains his seething jealousy at having to watch both his younger brother Tony's father and now Tony, himself, leapfrog him in the organization. As their professional tensions escalate, Uncle Junior employs increasingly desperate, behind-the-scenes measures to solve his problems with Tony, who still idolizes his uncle, and wants to retain Junior's affection and approval.
Uncle Junior and Christopher are fixtures in Tony's real family, as well as his crime family, so their actions in one realm often create further conflicts in the other. Christopher, an entitled, insecure DiMeo associate who is as ambitious as he is insubordinate and incompetent, is also a chronic substance abuser.
Tony Blundetto is a well-respected DiMeo family soldier who returns after completing a lengthy prison sentence; he leaves prison committed to "going straight" to Tony's dismay , but also has an intense violent streak. Silvio is Tony's consigliere and best friend.
He runs the family's strip club headquarters, and other businesses. Other significant characters in the DiMeo family include: Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri Steven R.
Ralph is a clever, ambitious top-earner; but his arrogant, obnoxious, disrespectful, and unpredictably violent tendencies turn Tony resentful. Richie Aprile is released from prison in season 2, and quickly makes waves.
Pontecorvo is a young soldier who becomes a "made" man alongside Christopher. Spatafore works his way up through the ranks to become top earner of the Aprile crew, but is secretly homosexual. Friends of the Soprano family include: Adriana is Christopher's loyal and long-suffering girlfriend; the two have a volatile relationship, but appear destined to stay together.
Christopher often ignores Adriana's advice, and winds up regretting it. Angie is Salvatore Bonpensiero's wife; she later goes into "business" for herself, and quite successfully. Charmaine wishes to have no association with Tony and his crew due to fears that Tony's criminal ways will ultimately ruin everything she and Artie have achieved. Artie, however — a law-abiding, hard-working man — is drawn to his childhood friend Tony's glamorous, seemingly carefree lifestyle.
Charmaine bitterly resents Artie's chronic tendency to disregard her wishes while catering to Tony's; their marriage suffers greatly, as a result.
Charmaine also had a brief sexual encounter with Tony when he and Carmela had temporarily broken-up when all four were teenagers. Ray Abruzzo  are all significant characters from the New York City-based Lupertazzi crime family , which shares a good amount of its business with the Soprano organization. Although the Lupertazzis' and DiMeos' interests are often at odds, Tony maintains a cordial, business-like relationship with "Johnny Sack", preferring to make mutually beneficial deals, not war.