‘The Sopranos’ almost had a ‘moonstruck’ problem with ‘fake Italians’

“We always knew it was going to be more money,” said former HBO exec Chris Albrecht. “But we wanted to make sure we weren’t full of shit.”

The opera epic The Sopranos almost got a name change because it sounded a little too much like a sitcom about singers — and possibly too much like Moonstruck.

Felix Gillette and John Koblin’s new book, It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO, revealed that initially, “HBO execs didn’t like the name because it sounded like a show about opera,” and the Pilot for Emmy-winning The Sopranos fared poorly across core demographics.

Former HBO exec Chris Albrecht noted that the long-running mafia series’ biggest focus is authenticity, including filming on location in New Jersey.

“That was my big problem with ‘Moonstruck’: wrong Italians, wrong New York,” said Albrecht. “We always knew it would be more money. But we wanted to make sure we weren’t full of shit. And making those commitments would show people we’re real.”

The popular 1987 romantic comedy Moonstruck, starring Cher and Nicholas Cage, was filmed primarily in Toronto.

Series creator David Chase added, “Everybody else said, well, you’re not going to shoot it in New Jersey, are you? What you mean is that you will do what ‘NYPD Blue’ does. They’ll shoot it in California and come back to New York every month and do some location shoots. Because why shoot in New Jersey? I would always say, kind of stupid or maybe naive, ‘No, no, no, I want to shoot it in New Jersey.’ For them it just meant they had to spend more money.”

“The Sopranos” cost more than $2 million per episode, making it the series’ most expensive TV show at the time. The series starred James Gandolfini and Edie Falco as the first family of the Italian crime syndicate Jersey. The Sopranos ran from 1999 to 2007 and won 21 Emmy Awards. The prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, written by Chase, debuted in 2021.

The Sopranos alumnus Michael Imperioli has confirmed that he and his former co-star Steve Schirripa are reuniting with showrunner Chase for an upcoming film co-written by Imperioli. While the storyline remains under wraps, fans have speculated that the film will be part of the expanding Sopranos film universe as part of Chase’s five-year deal with WarnerMedia.

Emmy-winner Chase previously told The Hollywood Reporter that he’s ready to do “another movie” with the legacy of The Sopranos and has an “idea for it that I’d like to do. But I don’t think they want that.”

According to Chase, HBO executives were looking for him to “create another series of ‘Sopranos’ from the end of the movie to the beginning of the series.” The potential series would bridge the gap between the events of Many Saints, set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the beginnings of The Sopranos in 1998, when Terence Winter co-wrote the screenplay with him.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/11/the-sopranos-almost-had-phony-italians-moonstruck-1234778037/ ‘The Sopranos’ almost had a ‘moonstruck’ problem with ‘fake Italians’

Lindsay Lowe

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