October 16, 2021

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‘Manny Saints of Newark’ shootout: How director Alan Taylor did it

9 min read

Spoiler alert: The story discusses a major sequence in “The Many Saints of Newark”, which is currently running in theaters and is streaming on HBO Max.

Part of the permanent appeal of “The Sopranos” is how the HBO series protests Hollywood’s fabrication of decades of organized crime myths, through the 1930s gangster films “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas” from Warner Bros. The show’s psychologically complex central opposition hero, Tony Soprano (the late James Gandalfini), was not glamorous or glamorous or cool, and many of the acts of violence on the show were not, in general.

So when regular “Sopranos” director Alan Taylor and series producer David Chase agreed to make the prequel feature film “The Manny Saints of Newark” – which followed Tony’s formative years as a teenager (played by Gandalfini’s son Michael Gandolfini) with his uncle Dickie. (Alessandro Nivola) – They had to figure out how to embrace the show’s antisocial beliefs while delivering a worthy experience on the big screen.

Arguably the best example of that approach is a sequence that “The Sopranos” has never tried: Dickie and Tony’s father Johnny Boy (John Barnethal) and Dickie’s former subordinate rival Harold (Leslie Odom Jr.).

“David said the one thing he wanted to do was a porn gangster movie,” Taylor said. “And that’s the scene.”

Taylor – who directed several episodes of “Game of Thrones” and Marvel Studios’ “Thor: The Dark World” at Marvel Studios in March 2001 – directed nine episodes of “The Sopranos”, including the last episode of the series, “The Blue Comet”. This episode involved two acts of climate violence, one of which was a complex shot of Tony’s lieutenant set in a model train store. But nothing Taylor directed for “The Sopranos” came close to the shooting out of “The Main Saints of Newark”, from its complexity and scale to how central it was to the film’s central narrative: how Harold used brutal tactics against the Italian Mafia and Dickie’s power play. Uses it to do.

“It’s a turning point in the balance of power in cinema,” Taylor says. “There was a story in this violence that I was used to doing in ‘Sopranos’, where the violence ended suddenly, quickly and. It was an opera. “

At the same time, it was critical that Taylor not create the sequence Too Operative এটি it still had to feel a piece of what Taylor called “The Sopranos” “No-Frills Approach”.

“David had no interest or tolerance to be an actress, to be fancy,” she said. “It’s very straight forward to tell the story.”

The process began with a storyboard created by artist Jane Woo (“Thor: Ragnarok,” “Beyond Star Trek”) – a regular collaborator with Taylor who also became his girlfriend.

“He’s out of the Marvel Universe and a lot of higher action things,” he says. “And it took him a while to find a voice for ‘The Sopranos’ because his instincts were to hype the moments and to provoke violence – to love violence. And it’s not understandable violence, it’s a kind of feeling-bad violence. Can’t get roots for this.

That said, as Taylor explained exclusively Diversity, He was still able to hide in a “superhero shot” sequence. The full scene of the film – which includes graphic violence and language – is below, followed by Taylor’s detailed analysis of how his team removed it.

Keep the neighbors happy

With a budget of ৫০ 50 million, Taylor said he received more time and money for “The Money Saints of Newark” than “The Sopranos,” but he still only produced one or two days for the shootingout sequence. Taylor depicted a neighborhood on the streets of New York City at night on the Queens and Brooklyn border where “you can see both sides and it was the residential architecture of the time that hasn’t changed.” The only major detail to add them through the visual effects was a vertical neon sign on the nightclub where Dickey, Johnny Boy and their two colleagues Buddha (Joey Diaz) and Frankie (Nick DiMateo) appeared.

Hour after hour of screams, shots, and a VW bus burning (more on that later) – how popular was the production in the local neighborhood?

“I think they were supporters,” Taylor says with a smile. “The word probably got around that we’re doing a ‘sopranos’ thing and it’s amazing how much patience and indifference you can get to ‘the sopranos’.”

Lazy loaded pictures

Screengrab courtesy of Warner Bros.

Starting inside Harold’s car

The shootout follows a scene where Harold learns that Dickie has hit Harold’s chief lieutenant, and Harold realizes that Dickie and Dimeo have to work for the crime family for years to claim his dominance using the brutal tactics he has seen.

Instead of opening the sequence with Dickie, Taylor decided to put his camera in Harold’s car because it was coming out of Dickie and Johnny’s club silhouette.

“Since it’s about Harold’s rise compared to Dickey and the others, it starts very much from Harold’s perspective,” Taylor says. This has further strengthened Taylor’s desire to keep the entire sequence “grounded from a thematic perspective” as much as possible.

“There’s almost no purpose angle to the thing,” he says. “We like when we move from Dickie’s point of view to the Harold and back-and-forth, but we never want to go into objective coverage. It’s the part that doesn’t make it well-violent. ”

A good example of this thematic approach is when Dickie shoots Harold’s driver in the head, and Taylor crashes into a telephone pole inside Harold’s car, throwing the viewer into the experience.

It also meant that Taylor could consolidate the production, since he only filmed what he needed.

“For the most part, we were stuck with the boards we made and again it kept the camera very close in sight. This can be an effective way of shooting, because if you decide to play one game at a time, you don’t have to do multiple setups to repeat the action. ”

Lazy loaded pictures

Screengrab courtesy of Warner Bros.

RIP Big Pussy’s Papa

Unknown Harold follows him into the background, Dickie engages in a minor altercation with the Buddha after the Buddha – the father of “Big Pussy” Bonpensiro, the future soprano family enforcer Salvatore – talking obscenely about Dickie’s concubine Giuseppeina (Michela de Rossi). As Johnny Boy and Frankie stand and watch, Dickie starts punching Buddha – until Buddha’s head explodes from a shotgun blast.

“We do it with the only fancy shots in the sequence,” Taylor said. “It’s basically about playing like a regular coverage angle. Part of the shock is that you’re basically just covering the dialogue, and we’re in the character of Joey Diaz when something terrible happens and the camera swings up to Dickie’s response. Dickie falls out of the frame and the camera is already moving – it charges towards Harold as he approaches.

To capture the shot, Taylor placed the camera on a dolly track, and used that set-up to shoot Diaz’s coverage to fight Dickie before the victim, which is much easier to push into Harold’s car later.

“We were just shooting Joe’s coverage in that corner and then we were ready to make one for his dialogue and then fled to give Harold a charge,” Taylor said. “So I don’t think it takes much longer. Probably a couple. “

The effect of the bullet on Buddha’s head was achieved with visual effects, Taylor added, but otherwise the rest of the shot was completely practical.

“In the old days, it was really hard to make shots like this,” he says. “Now, taking a shot like this is just mildly complicated.”

Lazy loaded pictures

Screengrab courtesy of Warner Bros.

Make an alley

After the death of Dickey’s compatriots, Frankie, a musician who worked in the club silhouette – or, Taylor jokingly calls him a “red shirt.”

Frankie tries to make a run for him without a gun for self-defense, only to be shot in the back. Taylor wanted Frankie to walk down a narrow alley instead of an open street, to give this moment a more visual focus. There was only one problem: although Taylor liked their position, there was no way to get Frankie down.

So Taylor made one by parking a bunch of half-trucks along the sidewalk instead.

“But it sounds like an alley, doesn’t it?” Taylor says with a smile. “I wanted to give it some sort of depth and it seemed to work.”

Lazy loaded pictures

Screengrab courtesy of Warner Bros.

Wait, was it a VW bus?

In “The Blue Comet”, Taylor did a deadly shootout with a motorcyclist bystander accidentally hit by a Toyota Prius in a climax – a perfect “sopranos” detail, which brings the world into the world. Or as Taylor put it, “If it’s a car, it’s going to be a Prius, the world’s lowest action-Y vehicle.”

Similarly, just as Harold Dickey is nearing improvement in “The Many Saints of Newark,” some poor pedestrian on a Volkswagen bus goes right into the middle of a shooting out and gets caught in a crossfire, crashes into a parked car, and bursts into flames.

“I felt some echoes with what I did in‘ Sopranos ’,” Taylor said. “Someone jumps into the shootout and they’re driving a VW bus, which is the world’s smallest shoot-up car.”

Since he wanted to keep the audience’s attention on Dickie and Harold, Taylor chose not to focus on anyone driving the bus.

“Also, this VW van has a kind of humor to the irrationality of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he says. “And if you’re inside and you know, it’s not ridiculous [who’s] Management. So instead of just going into the painful subplot it lets it be an event for our main characters. She laughs. “I want to think the driver survives and makes a run for it.”

Lazy loaded pictures

Screengrab courtesy of Warner Bros.

The burning entrance to the Harold

When given a cover on the VW bus, Dickey escapes in a club silhouette, so Harold follows him, with Taylor calling him the “closest thing to a superhero shot”: stepping inside the club, Harold stepping inside the club, setting fire to the VW bus.

“It allows Harold to be a superhero or supervillain for a second,” he says.

But Taylor also wanted to highlight a very real event that Taylor showed in the first act of the movie: the 1967 Newark riots, which broke out after a black cab driver was beaten by police.

“Harold became radicalized by the violence and the Newark fire in ’67,” Taylor says. “You see him participate. And so this is that he’s coming now, as a kind, you know, supported by Avenger Fire, it looks like he’s taking it with him.

Lazy loaded pictures

Screengrab courtesy of Warner Bros.

Dickie and Harold face off

Dickie ends up being cornered inside the club, when he grabs a shotgun behind the bar to protect himself. Taylor shot these scenes in a different location, looking like a 1970s nightclub, but initially the scene didn’t go inside the club at all.

“The original version of the shootout ended up outside,” Taylor said. “And then I think David [Chase] And I both felt that, really, its main task was to become a stalemate between Dickie and Harold, so when the second part of the shooting was written. It turned out to be a two act shootout, and the second work was about excitement and suspense and these two personalities, and the first was more chaos and violence and shots.

Taylor likes to pull Dickie into the shell of a shotgun, when he discovers that his weapon is empty, and then hangs behind Dickie’s face as he waits behind a closed door for Harold to appear.

“Alessandro saw this shot of his when we pushed him from the barrel of the gun and he said it was his favorite shot that anyone had made by him,” Taylor said.

In another gangster film, this sequence could be the climax of the whole movie, with Harold or Dickie winning. Since it’s located in the world of “The Sopranos,” both men survive to see another day, creating the sequence, Taylor said, “I think it’s less about killing each other than the impact on Dickie.”

“He can’t believe Harold would have the courage to go after him like this,” Taylor says. “You see his world is changing.”

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