''I'm nervous! It's nerve-wracking!'' shouted Carl Capotorto (Little Paulie Germani) minutes before The Sopranos finale. Best known for sailing through a window thanks to an enraged Christopher in one of this season's spectacular fight scenes, Capotorto was atwitter on Sunday night. ''I just heard a rumor that the ending as they wrote it on the page may not be the full story,'' he said. ''We're going to find out right now.''
Capotorto joined fellow cast members, including Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow), Matt Servitto (Agent Harris), and other assorted wiseguys, at HBO headquarters in midtown Manhattan to address the press and face The End. With reporters and camera crews begging them for hints, spoilers anything the actors did their best to sift through the chaos for each another, hugging, introducing families, and posing for their own snapshots. In the end, the only prediction anyone was willing to make was that the night would be unpredictable.
''I know what's going to happen, but I don't know all of what happens,'' said Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior) refusing to reveal anything more well, other than the fact that he's hung on to his character's trademark glasses: ''I have them right next to my pictures of my mother.'' When the final scene finally cut out to what's sure to go down in television history as Best Use of Black Screen (or the worst, depending on who you ask) the actors all held their breath until it was clear that the journey (and Journey) was over. ''I thought there was something wrong with the tape!'' Sharon Angela admitted afterward.
Either ''Made in America'' was the best episode of the series' six season run or the show is simply more entertaining when watched with at least a few Sopranos in attendance. The funny moments were funnier (the audience roared at the Christopher-fixated cat), the shocking scenes (think Phil Leotardo and the SUV run-in) were more gruesome, and the tension pitched sharper in a crowd of people who not only had read the script, but had actually been there. And yet they, like the rest of us, were just as blown away that no one was, well, blown away. Yes, they had been at the readings, even acted in the finale, but seeing as they were left in the dark on so many previous Sopranos shockers Tony getting plugged by Uncle Junior and Adriana going on permanent vacation, chief among them they were just as curious about creator David Chase's final ace.
''David did it to us once [with Adriana],'' Servitto laughed, ''I thought he'll do it to us again he'll take off with a B camera and go off to the woods and whack everybody and not tell us.'' While Chase didn't go that far, Servitto did notice that a few moments were left on the cutting room floor.
''In the script, the scene in the diner went a little further,'' Servitto revealed. ''The gentleman sitting at the counter was much more mysterious, almost like he's walking to the table to shoot Tony, and then end of script.” But ultimately Servitto was happy with the way Chase edited the scene. “I thought it was the perfect ending because it's never been linear,'' he said. ''He's kept so many endings on so many episodes wide open people still ask me, 'Where's the Russian?' That's three seasons ago!''
While fan debate rages on, the cast was unanimous in their delight at the non-closure closure. ''I think he just created television history,'' pronounced Dan Grimaldi (Patsy Parisi). Sharon Angela seconded, ''I think the ending is David Chase at his finest... It's not typical predictable dumb s---... That's the brilliance of David Chase and what makes The Sopranos what it is.'' Everyone also agreed that the ending left the door to the multiplex wide open. ''I've always thought a made-for-HBO [movie] two or three years from now to check in with the characters would be wonderful,'' Servitto mused.
As one of the last Sopranos to cross the screen, Sigler had to take a timeout after watching the finale before she could talk. ''I broke down when I first came out [of the screening room],'' Sigler said. ''I need to wait a few days and then watch it again to enjoy it.'' Collected, she began to imagine the possibilities for her own career Broadway, film, maybe even another TV show. As for Meadow, she has equally high hopes: Cross the Hudson in a few years to the land of Satriale's, AR-10s, and long-term therapy, and you just may find a new Soprano calling the shots.
''[Meadow] is talking about how she's not liking the way Italians are treated, and in some roundabout way...'' Sigler lets the possibility linger in the air, adding that one thing is for certain: ''If David is going to write it, then I'll be there.''