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Steve Buscemi Says He Needed To Be Convinced To Shoot The Finale For Season 2 Of 'Boardwalk Empire'

by Kevin Jagernauth
March 4, 2014 2:14 PM
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With writers and producers planning the fifth and final season of "Boardwalk Empire," perhaps now is as good a time as any to look back on the prohibition-era gangster drama. And that's just what happened last night in at The Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR in New York City. Steve Buscemi and "The Sopranos" creator David Chase sat down for a conversation lasting over an hour about antiheroes, and the talk touched upon one of the more shocking season finales in "Boardwalk Empire" thus far.

Needless to say **SPOILERS AHEAD** so if you haven't watch the show yet, don't complain (and why are you even reading this story to begin with?). Anyway, in the last episode of season two, Buscemi's gangland honcho Nucky Thompson brutally murders his young protegé Jimmy Darmody (played by Michael Pitt) after he had betrayed him. It put an end to one of the central character pairings of the show in a rather harsh fashion, and Buscemi was initially hesitant.

"That's a scene I did not want to do," Buscemi explained. "I usually don't call [writer] Terry [Winter] and talk about the character or the scenes, but this one I had to. I really wanted him to tell me why Nucky was doing it, and—this I learned from David—you don't say, 'My character wouldn't do that,' because David's response would be, 'Who said it was your character?' "

"But my question to Terry was, 'Why? Why is he doing this?' And Terry had to remind me who this guy is and why he's doing it," Buscemi continued. "Because he could have had somebody else do it, but the fact he does it himself ... I had trouble getting there."

It's an interesting reflection from Buscemi on the scene and his character, and we'll leave it to you to let us know in the comments section how you felt about the season two finale. Check out the full talk between Chase and Buscemi below. [Indiewire]

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  • k. | March 25, 2014 2:52 PMReply

    Jimmy provided a history and a link to Nucky that added much depth to the story. Jimmy was a very intriguing and well written character with much emotional and psychological depth.
    Although the show moved on with continued success it lacked the overall richness of season 1 and 2.

  • Josh | March 7, 2014 12:33 PMReply

    He should've shot Eli. Jimmy was a badass character.

  • rob | March 7, 2014 6:32 AMReply

    I feel the show has been lacking a lot since then, would have preferred they just ended it right there and I would say it's one of the best shows ever, but it's limping out like jordan on the wizards.
    That being said, it was a great scene, needed to happen, and had to happen that way. Letting jimmy slide would have been bs and, Nucky had to do it because Jimmy said to him in season one, "you can't be half a gangster, Nucky,"

  • Steven | March 5, 2014 9:08 PMReply

    At the time it made no sense, the show WAS Nucky and Jimmy! And Jimmy didn't betray Nucky alone - it was Eli who suggested it. I think people thought they'd be a constant power struggle between the two characters for years, so it came as a shock. It'd be like killing Rick on the Walking Dead! However, by killing Jimmy off they've turned him into an icon.

  • Steven | March 6, 2014 8:23 AM

    RP: Yeah, I do admire it in a way. However, people betray each other all the time on this show, and the course of events mean they have to make up again. Logic can change. I can't help but think how good it could have been with Jimmy vs Nucky in seasons 3 - 5. Still my favourite show on TV regardless.

  • RP | March 6, 2014 8:16 AM

    Steve: It takes real balls to pull a maneuver like that. It shows that as writers, you are a serious as a heart attack and will take necessary, logical steps, if character dictates that you must. You gotta admire the sh*t out of that.

  • Steven | March 6, 2014 7:08 AM

    In reply to RP:

    It didn't make sense in terms of the show's popularity, not the storyline. This is a TV show, not real life, they had no need to kill arguably the most popular character to prove a point. The show is still great but it's still missing something. Jimmy.

  • RP | March 5, 2014 9:57 PM

    It totally made sense at the time. It was a tough decision, but Nucky had to do it. Also deep down he's totally ruthless. Friendship and faux-fatherhood doesn't not trump money, power and greed. The show and its writers said A LOT about the character and who he ultimately was in that episode. Not liking it is once thing. Not recognizing how it makes sense reveals you're not paying attention.

  • Karen G | March 5, 2014 2:40 PMReply

    I had no problem with Nucky killing Jimmy. I felt that Jimmy had it coming due to his betrayal. I like the direction the show has gone in since, with Nucky's brother betrayal, the conflict between Chalky and Narcisse and the attempted hit by Richard on Narcisse as well. Can't wait to see what's done with the Al Capone now that Torrio handed over his operation to him. The series finale should be great, I hope, can't wait

  • Rob | March 4, 2014 3:58 PMReply

    I disagree. I thought the show got better. Jimmy was awesome and my favorite character, but a good show shouldn't rely on its star power - it should be well written and the writing never got bad.

  • Margret | March 4, 2014 8:03 PM

    Michael Pitt was hardly star power, but he was a strong character presence on the show and often someone to root for in the absence of a true heroic figure. I haven't been able to stay interested since. I've watched, but i've been emotionally detached as there's been too many revolving door characters that lack the impact of Jimmy.

  • no one | March 4, 2014 2:45 PMReply

    the show never recovered.

  • kc | March 4, 2014 3:45 PM

    I disagree. Killing Jimmy allowed the show to focus on different storylines and give more screentime to other characters. The fourth season was the strongest yet.

  • Mongoosecmr | March 4, 2014 3:02 PM

    It really didn't. The show needs a central character or plot to anchor all the characters and their subplots. Jimmy provided that, Nucky should have picked it up when Jimmy died but he keeps getting shuffled around with more minor characters.

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