‘Sopranos’ Creator David Chase Remembers Peter Bogdanovich and His Dr. Elliot Kupferberg Role

Peter Bogdanovich helped usher in a brand new period in Hollywood with “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon,” movies that performed homage to the flicks from an earlier age, however motion pictures that revolutionized the shape with a recent model and sexual frankness.

But many individuals acknowledge Bogdanovich not for his directing, however for his position as Elliot Kupferberg, the urbane, barely inscrutable psychiatrist to whom Dr. Jennifer Melfi spills her personal secrets and techniques on “The Sopranos.” Bogdanovich, who died Thursday at age 82, additionally directed a pivotal fifth season episode of the sequence, “Sentimental Education,” by which Carmela embarks on an affair together with her son’s steerage counselor.

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“The Sopranos” creator David Chase spoke with Variety about his lengthy friendship with Bogdanovich and his appreciation for his work as an actor and an artist. Here are his (flippantly) edited feedback:

I met Peter after I took over a present known as “Northern Exposure.” I used to be operating it with Andy Schneider and Diane Frolov after [its creators] Joshua Brand and John Falsey left. There was loads of discuss going round in these days about genius, and I believed it might be a good suggestion to do one thing about an actual genius and that was Orson Welles. So I known as Peter and he appeared on the present as himself.

He performed Peter Bogdanovich who was going to do a presentation about Orson Welles throughout the Cicely Alaska Film Festival, which isn’t an actual factor. He was so nice. He was so placid and so actual, and he didn’t overdue it, which is one thing folks are likely to do when enjoying themselves. He additionally gave us loads of info on Welles as a result of they’d been actually good associates, kind of a mentor and mentee for years. I bear in mind one time I advised Peter that I had seen Welles as soon as and he had seemed candy and Peter simply checked out me with this expression of disbelief. So that saved us. We would have gone forward with the candy Welles, however we obtained rescued.

Then “Sopranos” got here alongside and Melfi wanted a therapist of her personal and Peter simply popped into my head robotically. He introduced that bottle of water, which he at all times had with him when taking pictures or not taking pictures. He’d say one thing after which unscrew the highest and take a gentlemanly sip after which go on with what he was going to say. That was Elliot Kupferberg, M.D.

It additionally labored as a result of he and Lorraine Bracco [who played Melfi] are so totally different. He’s so canny and eliminated, simply kind of sitting there along with his fingers in his lap, and she or he was not that type of psychiatrist. He personified a scientific outlook.

He was continuously across the set and we had enjoyable. We went out to dinner so much, we drank so much. He advised nice tales. You may hear them 10 or 12 occasions and it wouldn’t be sufficient. And he was an excellent mimic, so when he was voicing John Wayne or John Ford or Cary Grant, all of whom he knew, you’d get the entire particular person. It made you are feeling such as you’d actually missed out on one thing. You wished you’d been there.

At some level throughout his work as Kupferberg, he stated “How would you feel about me directing an episode?” So he did “Sentimental Education.” I felt fairly safe. I knew he was a extremely good director. His directing model was a bit of bit totally different from the remainder of the those who we had. He and I didn’t see eye to eye on some decisions he had made by way of protection, however in the long run it got here out nice. It was an vital episode for us as a result of it was all about Carmela having an affair.

I first turned conscious of David once I was going to NYU and I learn his articles about movie. He was so knowledgable. He wrote with such grace and finesse. I used to be jealous. I used to suppose, “Geez, you dumb shit, why can’t you write a simple letter like that?”

The first movie I noticed was “Targets” and I liked it. It was so effectively completed and the stuff about him solely having just a few days to shoot Boris Karloff was legendary. And I actually preferred “Paper Moon” — the manufacturing design, its pictures, the way in which he directed the actors, what he obtained from them. Another favourite image of his was “Nickelodeon;” it took me proper again to early Hollywood, which was one thing I used to be so desirous about and had no connection to.

I didn’t fairly perceive “Last Picture Show.” Not that there was one thing fallacious with the image. I put this on myself as a result of it occurs to me pretty usually. My spouse will inform you that once we noticed “Planet of the Apes” and the top got here on, I stated, “Oh, they had a Statue of Liberty too.”

He was at all times open and sincere about his place in Hollywood and the studios and the way they handled him and different folks. I want he’d made extra footage. I want he’d had the chance to do extra.

I do know he shall be thought to be one in every of the raging bulls from that period, not that he was a raging bull; he was something however. And but he was half of a complete new factor for Hollywood together with Scorsese and Coppola. You have been seeing one thing totally different about what a film might be. It was such a sea change. It was not all about biblical epics.

I don’t know the way I really feel about Peter being acknowledged [in obituary headlines] for his work in “Sopranos.” I’ve been fairly outspoken about my lack of regard for tv or what tv was and to suppose that this final cinéaste is being remembered because the star of a TV present — effectively, what are you able to say? I’m actually glad that he was acknowledged for his appearing, as a result of he began out desirous to be an actor and he was a extremely good actor.

We had dinner a few months in the past and I’m so glad we did. I had been living in New York and he was right here in L.A. and the date saved shifting and we lastly made it work. He didn’t appear to be in nice form. It was very emotional. I don’t imply that I used to be crying or something, however you can see that we valued one another’s firm and our impact on one another’s profession.

This is a man I’m actually going to overlook.

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