Everyone knows the old saying: You can’t go home again. But what about going back to a place you once worked, years later and with a whole new cast of characters?
Alan Taylor has done just that. The beloved and prolific director of many of the best episodes of The Sopranos dipped back into New Jersey for HBO’s new prequel movie The Many Saints Of Newark.
We talked to the director about revisiting old haunts like Satriale’s Pork Store in the video above. In it, Taylor says returning for the movie “felt like [he]was going home,” saying it felt like “going back into [Sopranos creator] David Chase’s voice.” “It’s a dark, troubled home, but it was good to go back,” said Taylor.
Taylor also talks a little bit about the curse of nostalgia in the clip above, in particular about Tony Soprano’s late season bon mot that “‘Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation.” Taylor says that quote speaks to “the dishonesty that usually goes along with ‘remember when’ and Tony himself is guilty of that. I think [Tony] carries that kind of golden age idea about the past that is not accurate, but it’s something he believes is part of his philosophy.”
Taylor says another of his favorite lines from the show is toward the beginning of the series, when Tony says “I have this feeling that I came in at the end of something.” “It’s been my favorite line because it’s about America and the fate of our empire as much as it’s about the mob,” Taylor says. “
He continues, “When David Chase went back to the past, he took the same honest, acidic, dark vision that he applied to the present. This is not a romanticized past. This is not a warm, fuzzy glow.”
The Many Saints Of Newark is in theaters and on HBO Max now. You can read our review of the movie right here, and if you want to read Taylor’s take on The Sopranos’ excellent “Pine Barrens’ episode, that’s right here.