The Sopranos creator David Chase trades Mob hits for rock hits with his feature directorial debut, which follows three New Jersey teenagers who form a band after seeing the Rolling Stones on TV in 1964. Chase, who dabbled in music as a kid, admits the film may be personal, but it's not autobiographical. ''To say that I was in a band is a misnomer,'' says the director, who also wrote the script. ''Me and three other guys used to play in somebody's basement. We never played one date for any other people. But we had big dreams about it in our heads.''
The cast is filled with unfamiliar faces except for that of Chase's Sopranos pal James Gandolfini, who plays one of the kids' fathers. ''It wasn't as scary as you'd think,'' says Gandolfini's onscreen son, John Magaro (My Soul to Take), about acting opposite the three-time Emmy winner. ''His character is actually a big sweetheart.''
Chase promises that Not Fade Away bears only superficial similarities to his HBO hit. ''It's like The Sopranos in the sense that it's in New Jersey and one of the kids is Italian and Jim Gandolfini is in it,'' he says. ''But is there red stuff on the wall all of a sudden? No.''