The Sopranos aired its last episode 14 years ago. George W. Bush was still in office, streaming platforms weren’t a thing and Britney Spears’ conservatorship ordeal was only just beginning.
But amidst a rapidly changing society and constantly evolving pop culture landscape, The Sopranos has remained relevant and revered, routinely upheld as one of the finest examples of prestige television of all time.
The beloved series has found new relevance in 2021 with the release of the prequel film, The Many Saint of Newark, led by the late James Gandolfini’s son in his place.
But the show has also found popularity with a new generation of fans, many of whom were too young to watch it the first time around.
And with its continued popularity, The Sopranos is being experienced through a new medium in 2021—podcasts.
Michael Imperioli and Steve Schippra who played Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby Baccalieri on the show respectively, have relived the show for their Talking Sopranos podcast and now, subsequently a book, Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos.
The guide to the series is filled with interviews that get up close and personal with the cast (Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Jamie-Lynn Sigler), series creator David Chase, various directors, and a host of others who worked on The Sopranos during its six-season run.
Newsweek sat down with the pair to discuss the podcast, the book, and the show that made it all happen.
Michael Imperioli, Steve Schippra Q&A Interview [MI, SS]
Some answers have been edited for clarity.
Q: Can you talk about the experience of reliving the show on the podcast and with now the book?
MI: I’ve found it to be amazing. Steve and I, we hadn’t seen the show since it went off the air in 2007. And rewatching it for the podcast for me has been a revelation to really just see how great it is.
How great the performances the writing the filmmaking. You know, I guess in the midst of it when we were doing it, maybe took it for granted a little bit because we were in it but with some distance. I’m just really, really amazed at the level of quality and how good the show is, to be honest.
SS: I enjoyed every moment of watching it. I always knew it was funny. I didn’t realize how funny and some performances that I thought were meh—now, just fantastic.
I couldn’t see anyone else in these roles except for the people that play them.
The show is a masterpiece and David Chase. They throw that name around a lot ‘genius’ but he is a genius.
Q: Can you tell me some favorite scenes that really stood out to you that may not have stood out here the first time around?
MI: The “Funhouse” episode is great. I love that. That’s the last episode in season two, when Salvatore ‘Big Pussy’ Bonpensiero gets killed. And I think it was monumental because you have this major character being killed off the show, which very rarely happened on television but I think that almost overshadowed the rest of the episode, which is very weird, and really very groundbreaking.
SS: I enjoyed “Whitecaps”—this scene with Carmela and Tony, when they have a big argument. I thought that was some of the finest acting ever anywhere between the two of them. I also enjoy tremendously the intervention scene. Laugh out loud, funny, and also the Pauley walnut scene where he goes to the psychic. Oh yeah, that is all really incredible stuff.
Q: How did working on the podcast lend itself to creating the book?
MI: There was so much material the podcast is going to end up being like close to 300 hours—it’s just immense.
So to have something a little bit more condensed I think is a good thing. What we realized, that there was a lot more he wanted to even talk about a lot of the guests.
So the book, there are people we didn’t talk to for the podcast and then we went back to the people we already talked to unless further with them.
There has been several soprano books, but there’s never been one that from the mouths of the people who made it and this is that book and I think it makes it.
SS: I mean it’s the podcast plus 50 percent—it’s so much more. For the podcast we went scene by scene in the book, we’re going season by season and talking to all the actors and producers, directors, the crew people that we spoke to, their journey on the show. You’ve got you know, as many different people we interviewed as many different stories. Which is fascinating to me. I love hearing their stories.
MI: We have photographs from Steve and mine’s personal collection that have never been seen by anybody.
Q: How do you feel the sort of younger generations now still seem to have an appetite for the show? Like why does it resonate so strongly with people who maybe wouldn’t have watched on the first time around?
MI: None of us could have ever predicted this in a million years. The introduction to the book talks about how about two and a half years ago, right around the 20th anniversary of the first airing of the first episode, I was shooting a pilot in Central Park and this kid from Scotland who was here on vacation, walked up to me, he was like 20 and showed me a tattoo of Christopher Moltisanti on his leg.
I was like ‘Whoa,’ first of all, he was 20. He was from Scotland and he’s got a tattoo you know. And right around that time I went on social media, on Instagram, it was the first time I was ever engaged in social media and I became aware of just how much this younger generation social media generation has embraced the show.
And it was one of the reasons we decided to do the podcast, because the podcast is really a new media that a lot of younger people are into. And I think it’s just a testament to the quality of the show.
I can’t put my finger on the formula. There was definitely magic that happened on The Sopranos that you know, lightning striking and this group of people come together at this point in time with this great material. I think it’s just a testament to the quality of the show. I don’t know how else to figure it out. I think it’s amazing and makes me really happy.
SS: I think the show holds up every bit as well as it did. It could have been written yesterday besides the computers or cars, you know, maybe the phones the material holds up every bit as if it was written yesterday.
Q: And on that note, are there any like current shows that are on right now that in your opinion live up to The Sopranos?
MI: I don’t know of anything. I’ll be really honest. And this is very, kind of a little biased, I don’t think anything will ever come close to The Sopranos. I’ll be flat out honest with you. My favorite show—it’s about to come on soon. I think for the third season is Afterlife.
Ricky Gervais is a friend of ours. He was a guest celebrity superfan on our podcast and visited the set of The Sopranos. He’s someone I think is doing amazing things in television. He’s one of my favorites.
SS: Brilliant. Afterlife is absolutely brilliant. And listen, there are some great shows. I mean, I don’t watch them all. I watch what I watch, but there’s some great stuff out there but I don’t think it touches The Sopranos. And yeah, I’m biased, you know, we were part of it. But after watching it again and hopefully I’m a little smarter than I was 20 years ago, it is absolutely—I can’t even imagine. I mean honestly.
Q: The podcast is coming to an end on December 20 and that episode is going to examine The Sopranos‘ cliffhanger ending. Many people are going to be excited about that. And I’m wondering if you’re able to kind of give us a bit of a preview and on your takes about Tony’s fate and what listeners can look forward to.
MI: Well we’re going to have David Chase on for the finale and we’re going to ask him some very direct questions, not just about the last episode, but about those last nine episodes last season seven as we call it, and what he was trying to do, and what was on his mind.
I’ve been going back and forth between anything Tony’s dead and Tony’s not, you know, but we’re gonna get into it for sure. And that’s for the finale.
SS: I think Tony Soprano was alive and well and living in New Jersey. That’s what I think. Eating onion rings as we speak.
Q: With the release of The Many Saints of Newark, which Michael you narrate—how did that come about and what was it like? Getting back into the character Christopher for that and almost in this abstract way as the narrator, because as we know, he’s already dead. Spoiler alert.
MI: I know that they tried a couple of ways to connect the series to the movie.
[The director] Alan Taylor talked about it, they shot something with Edie [Falco], as Carmela, maybe telling people a story about back in the day for The Many Saints of Newark basically, but it might have been a little distracting to see one of the characters from the series.
I’m not really sure why they didn’t want to do it, or why they decided not to use it, but I imagine they wanted something a little more abstract, which was why you don’t see Christopher you see a photo of him and his voice from beyond the grave, which is obviously very abstract and strange, but for me, it was really fun to play him not as we left him.
So now he’s in hell apparently. What does that mean? He’s the older well not necessarily chronologically, but something’s different. Something’s changed. He’s not the Christopher we saw in the last in the “Kennedy and Heidi” episode. And what is that and that’s what I tried to bring to it.
Q: If the timeline would have allowed in ‘Many Saints’ who do you think would have played a young Bobby?
SS: Who would have played the young Bobby? I don’t know any fat kid!
MI: Cate Blanchett is very versatile…
SS: Christian Bale! He would have to put on 100 pounds to play the young Bobby Baccalieri!
“Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos” is available at bookstores now.
Woman passenger from UK tests Covid positive at Hyderabad airport
Hyderabad: A 35-year-old international passenger who reached the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here on Wednesday has tested positive for Covid-19 after undergoing an RT-PCR test at the airport itself. The woman passenger had traveled from the United Kingdom, which has been categorised as an ‘At Risk Country’.
The passenger has been admitted to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) and samples were collected and sent for genetic sequencing. Officials said she did not have any symptoms and that her health condition was being monitored closely.
According to officials, the woman hails from Rangareddy district and was on a visit to UK from Hyderabad. Though her close relatives tested negative, their health condition is also being monitored.
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Revealed: how Sidney Powell could be disbarred for lying in court for Trump | US elections 2020
Sidney Powell, the former lawyer for Donald Trump who filed lawsuits across America for the former president, hoping to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, has on several occasions represented to federal courts that people were co-counsel or plaintiffs in her cases without seeking their permission to do so, the Guardian has learned.
Some of these individuals say that they only found out that Powell had named them once the cases were already filed.
During this same period of time, Powell also named several other lawyers – with their permission in those instances – as co-counsel in her election-related cases, despite the fact that they played virtually no role whatsoever in bringing or litigating those cases.
Both Powell’s naming of other people as plaintiffs or co-counsel without their consent and representing that other attorneys were central to her cases when, in fact, their roles were nominal or nonexistent, constitute serious potential violations of the American Bar Association model rules for professional conduct, top legal ethicists told the Guardian.
Powell’s misrepresentations to the courts in those particular instances often aided fundraising for her nonprofit, Defending the Republic. Powell had told prospective donors that the attorneys were integral members of an “elite strike force” who had played outsized roles in her cases – when in fact they were barely involved if at all.
Powell did not respond to multiple requests for comment via phone, email, and over social media.
The State Bar of Texas is already investigating Powell for making other allegedly false and misleading statements to federal courts by propagating increasingly implausible conspiracy theories to federal courts that Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States was illegitimate.
The Texas bar held its first closed-door hearing regarding the allegations about Powell on 4 November. Investigations by state bar associations are ordinarily conducted behind closed doors and thus largely opaque to the public.
A federal grand jury has also been separately investigating Powell, Defending the Republic, as well as a political action committee that goes by the same name, for fundraising fraud, according to records reviewed by the Guardian.
Among those who have alleged that Powell falsely named them as co-counsel is attorney Linn Wood, who brought and litigated with Powell many of her lawsuits attempting to overturn the results of the election with her, including in the hotly contested state of Michigan.
The Michigan case was a futile attempt by Powell to erase Joe Biden’s victory in that state and name Trump as the winner. On 25 August, federal district court Judge Linda Parker, of Michigan, sanctioned Powell and nine other attorneys who worked with her for having engaged in “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process” in bringing the case in the first place. Powell’s claims of election fraud, Parker asserted, had no basis in law and were solely based on “speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion”.
Parker further concluded that the conduct of Powell, Wood, and the eight other attorneys who they worked with, warranted a “referral for investigation and possible suspension or disbarment to the appropriate disciplinary authority for each state … in which each attorney is admitted”.
Wood told the court in the Michigan case that Powell had wrongly named him as one of her co-counsel in the Michigan case. During a hearing in the case to determine whether to sanction Wood, his defense largely rested on his claim that he had not been involved in the case at all. Powell, Wood told the court, had put his name on the lawsuit without her even telling him.
Wood said: “I do not specifically recall being asked about the Michigan complaint … In this case obviously my name was included. My experience or my skills apparently were never needed, so I didn’t have any involvement with it.”
Wood’s attorney, Paul Stablein, was also categorical in asserting that his client had nothing to do with the case, telling the Guardian in an interview: “He didn’t draft the complaint. He didn’t sign it. He did not authorize anyone to put his name on it.”
Powell has denied she would have ever named Wood as a co-counsel without Wood’s permission.
But other people have since come forward to say that Powell has said that they were named as plaintiffs or lawyers in her election-related cases without their permission.
In a Wisconsin voting case, a former Republican candidate for Congress, Derrick Van Orden, said he only learned after the fact that he had been named as a plaintiff in one of Powell’s cases.
“I learned through social media today that my name was included in a lawsuit without my permission,” Van Orden said in a statement he posted on Twitter, “To be clear, I am not involved in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the election in Wisconsin.”
Jason Shepherd, the Republican chairman of Georgia’s Cobb county, was similarly listed as a plaintiff in a Georgia election case without his approval.
In a 26 November 2020 statement, Shepherd said he had been talking to an associate of Powell’s prior to the case’s filing about the “Cobb GOP being a plaintiff” but said he first “needed more information to at least make sure the executive officers were in agreeing to us being a party in the suit”. The Cobb County Republican party later agreed to remain plaintiffs in the case instead of withdrawing.
Leslie Levin, a professor at the University of Connecticut Law School, said in an interview: “Misrepresentations to the court are very serious because lawyers are officers of the court. Bringing a lawsuit in someone’s name when they haven’t consented to being a party is a very serious misrepresentation and one for which a lawyer should expect to face serious discipline.”
Nora Freeman Engstrom, a law professor at Stanford University, says that Powell’s actions appear to violate Rule 3.3 of the ABA’s model rules of professional misconduct which hold that “a lawyer shall not knowingly … make a false statement of fact of law to a tribunal”.
Since election day last year, federal and state courts have dismissed more than 60 lawsuits alleging electoral fraud and irregularities by Powell, and other Trump allies.
Shortly after the election, Trump named Powell as a senior member of an “elite strike force” who would prove that Joe Biden only won the 2020 presidential race because the election was stolen from him. But Trump refused to pay her for her services. To remedy this, Powell set up a new nonprofit called Defending the Republic; its stated purpose is to “protect the integrity of elections in the United States”.
As a nonprofit, the group is allowed to raise unlimited amounts of “dark money” and donors are legally protected from the ordinary requirements to disclose their identities to the public. Powell warned supporters that for her to succeed, “millions of dollars must be raised”.
Echoing Trump’s rhetoric, Powell told prospective donors that Defending the Republic had a vast team of experienced litigators.
Among the attorneys who Powell said made up this “taskforce” were Emily Newman, who had served Trump as the White House liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services and as a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security. Newman had been a founding board member of Defending the Republic.
But facing sanctions in the Michigan case, some of the attorneys attempted to distance themselves from having played much of a meaningful role in her litigation.
Newman’s attorney told Parker, the judge, that Newman had “not played a role in the drafting of the complaint … My client was a contract lawyer working from home who spent maybe five hours on this matter. She really wasn’t involved … Her role was de minimis.”
To have standing to file her Michigan case, Powell was initially unable to find a local attorney to be co-counsel on her case but eventually attorney Gregory Rohl agreed to help out.
But when Rohl was sanctioned by Parker and referred to the Michigan attorney disciplinary board for further investigation, his defense was that he, too, was barely involved in the case. He claimed that he only received a copy of “the already prepared” 830-page initial complaint at the last minute, reviewed it for “well over an hour”, while then “making no additions, decisions or corrections” to the original.
As with Newman, Parker, found that Rohl violated ethics rules by making little, if any, effort to verify the facts of the claims in Powell’s filings.
In sanctioning Rohl, the judge wrote that “the court finds it exceedingly difficult to believe that Rohl read an 830-page complaint in just ‘well over an hour’ on the day he filed it. So, Rohl’s argument in and of itself reveals sanctionable conduct.”
Govt to introduce important Bill, Covid situation likely to be discussed
The government on Thursday will table ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill 2021’ in the Lok Sabha. A discussion on Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its various related aspects is also likely to take place in the lower House.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will move the ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill’ in the Lok Sabha to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998.
Under rule 193, a discussion on Covid-19 pandemic and various aspects related to it will likely take place. According to sources, the members may also raise their concern and ask for the government’s preparedness for the new Omicron variant. Under Rule 193, members can seek details about the new Covid variant. “Short duration discussion is likely to be held in the Lok Sabha on the Covid and its various aspects, including new Omicron variant,” sources said.
Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Prahlad Singh Patel, General V.K. Singh, Krishan Pal, Bhanu Pratap Verma, Rameshwar Teli and Kaushal Kishore will lay papers on the table. Reports and action reports of different standing committees will also be laid in the day.
The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Amendment) Bill 2021 (ART) by voice vote as the amendments moved by the DMK MP N.K. Prem Chandran, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy and Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut were negated. The ART Bill seeks to regulate fertility clinics. All such clinics will have to be registered under the National Registry of Banks and Clinics of India.
The opposition is likely to continue to raise its voices on price rise, unemployment and extended jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in some states. The opposition parties are also demanding a law guaranteeing the minimum support price (MSP).
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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