If David Chase never worked again, his legacy would be completely assured because of the seismic impact that “The Sopranos” had on culture. That’s got to be an interesting feeling for an artist, knowing that you’ve created something that will endure, and it’s the ultimate goal of creating and sharing work with other people. You hope you’ll be able to reach the largest possible audience, and when you do it and you see that work ripple through the rest of pop culture, it’s a best case scenario.
Whatever you would expect as a follow-up to something like “The Sopranos,” Chase had something else in mind, and his debut feature film is now playing in limited release. It’s a gentle, heartfelt look back at the ’60s and the way rock’n’roll changed the world, told on a personal scale.
John Magaro stars in the film as Douglas, a kid who has his world turned upside down by the British Invasion. He sees rock’n’roll as his way out of the life that he was born into, and more importantly, he sees it as a way of winning the woman he wants, played by Bella Heathcote. It is a small personal story, filled with specific observations, and it feels nakedly autobiographical. Jack Huston co-stars as another member of the band that Douglas starts, and when I sat down with Magaro, Heathcote, and Huston, I was curious about their own backgrounds in music.
A movie like this ultimately depends on the audience identifying with and feeling sympathy for these kids, and I think Chase’s cast does a nice job of making this very specific story feel universal. Magaro has a great presence on film, and he’s got some great moments playing opposite James Gandolfini, who stars as his father. It’s the kind of film that is hard to advertise because it’s not about set pieces and special effects.
I’ll have one more “Not Fade Away” interview for you, with Chase himself, but for now, enjoy this chat with three young actors I suspect we’ll see much more of in years to come.
“Not Fade Away” is playing now in limited release.