Mike Fleming

chase1EXCLUSIVE: Two years after baffling audiences with his abrupt cut-to-black ending for HBO’s The Sopranos, David Chase is back — this time, with a feature film. Unfortunately, it’s not about the Mafia. But the subject matter could be just as compelling. I’ve learned that Chase has firmed a late summer/early fall start date for his feature directing debut of an untitled script he wrote himself. I hear the drama is a music-driven coming-of-age saga for Paramount about a bunch of guys who form a rock band in the 1960s. Chase will produce with Mark Johnson.

UTA-repped Chase signed to make a movie at Paramount back in 2008, reuniting with Paramount Pictures chairman and fellow Sopranos exec producer Brad Grey. At the time, the studio would not reveal what Chase had in mind to make. It was a big surprise. Chase’s film will be released using the label Paramount Vantage, whose name the studio retained when it shuttered the boutique as a full-service specialty division, to reflect that this project is closer to the indie spirit and budget of past Vantage fare like Babel and There Will Be Blood than to Paramount’s big ticket pictures.

Will the Vantage move lessen expectations for Chase’s first project since retiring one of the most revered series in TV history? My feeling? Fuggedaboudit.

I know what you’re thinking: will Chase ever bring back Tony Soprano in a feature film? I asked around. While a Sopranos movie might not be as dead as Jimmy Hoffa, it is nowhere right now. This Paramount Vantage film is first priority for Chase. And, after he’s writing, producing and directing episodes of A Ribbon of Dreams, the HBO miniseries about the formative days of Hollywood. But we can still hope.

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