HOW DO YOU FOLLOW THE SOPRANOS?

David Chase is telling stories again. The 76-year-old creator of The Sopranos is seated at the kitchen table of a production office in Santa Monica, eating takeout Mexican food and telling me about the time his paternal grandfather, Joseph Fusco, confessed to killing a man. Fusco told the story to a then-12-year-old Chase, who had been sent to Fusco’s apple farm in Hudson, New York, for a week during summer vacation. They were sitting in the kitchen one night after dinner, green apples piled in a bowl between them. “He was telling me he murdered a guy in Buffalo,” Chase recalls. “They got in an argument in a bar. They went outside.” Things escalated — Fusco hit him in the head with a brick. The other guy was a romano — Roman — though not from his grandfather’s area. “Fusco was bad news. Bad guy.” Chase pauses a moment, staring at his rice and beans in a Styrofoam box. “Who knows if it’s true?” he says finally. “But why would you tell that to an 12-year-old kid who’s staying with you? Who the fuck does that?”

Everything about the anecdote is uncut Chase, from the intensifying violence of the confrontation (you can imagine Chase’s grandfather grabbing the brick off a pile in the bar’s parking lot after realizing he might lose the fight) to the chilling mundanity of a then-middle-aged man relating it to his grandson. It makes me think of all the horrific but realistically awkward brutality meted out during The Sopranos’ eight-year run — Tony (James Gandolfini), eyes swollen from having Raid sprayed into them, killing another mobster by strangling him and smashing his head against a tiled kitchen floor. It’s also the kind of moment that happens throughout the series’s forthcoming prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, a panoramic gangster film set in the late ’60s and early ’70s in Newark, New Jersey, directed by Alan Taylor and co-written by Lawrence Konner, both Sopranos veterans. The film follows junior mobster Christopher Moltisanti’s (Michael Imperioli) father, Newark mob soldier Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), who was discussed in the original but never portrayed onscreen

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