On Tuesday, September 25, the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department welcomed actor James Gandolfini to the SVA campus for a live Q&A session. The event was part of the department’s ongoing series, which has brought industry professionals such as Richard Donner, Sean Penn and Meryl Streep in front of students to share their experiences. Gandolfini answered questions from students and Department Chair Reeves Lehmann that covered his entire film and television career, ranging from the features Get Shorty and Romance and Cigarettes to the HBO series The Sopranos and Alive Day Memories.
In front of an enthusiastic audience, Gandolfini reflected on the ways he approaches scripts and how he works with different directors. Looking to the future, he said that he is working to develop a new project that would have him taking on the role of author Ernest Hemingway, and that after nearly a decade playing mob boss Tony Soprano, “The mafia’s done for me now.” His most emotional comments came when discussing the wounded Iraq War vets he interviewed for Alive Day Memories. “Freedom has a price,” said Gandolfini. “We’ve forgotten that, but these people haven’t.”
Image: James Gandolfini at SVA; photo by Brian Glaser.