[5 June 2009]
McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)
LOS ANGELES — During the filming of the final season of “The Sopranos,” Edie Falco wasn’t sure she wanted to be part of another TV series. That landmark HBO show set a pretty high standard.
“But as soon as I finished ‘The Sopranos,’ I started reading lots of scripts, and I was not convinced yet of what I wanted to do. I kind of thought I would know when the right script came, and that’s what happened,” Falco said during an interview in February to talk about the script that brings her back to TV.
“Nurse Jackie” is the new Showtime drama about an emergency room nurse who’s no Florence Nightingale. She’s good at her job as long as her drug addiction and sexual energy don’t get in the way.
It was never a matter of whether Falco would go back to work. She was convinced her next job would be in a feature film or play.
“The idea of a series was a little daunting, but the truth is it actually fits my lifestyle. It feels like a job, like a real job, like Monday to Friday, and I have a place to show up, and it’s long-term, and I can live at home,” Falco said. “The work, it’s long, and it’s sort of engrossing. And I really love it. I love it more than I thought I would have after coming off a long series.”
There might have been other forces behind Falco’s decision to return to series TV after the long run as Carmela Soprano. She smiled, pointing out that her Aunt Carmela is a nurse.
Falco’s coming off a set where ‘Sopranos’ creator David Chase ruled with a strong hand. She had to adjust when she was asked for her input on the new show.
If there’s one thing Falco likes, it’s being in control. She told the show’s creators — Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius — they’d created a monster.
“If I could be in every meeting, in every casting session, in every editing session, I would do it because I am fascinated, endlessly fascinated by the process. I know a bit about it now even though I’ve been the happy employee for so long,” Falco said. “The whole process of making a show happen is really quite fascinating.
“Unfortunately, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of the things that I want to do, but these guys have been incredibly gracious, not just these two women, everybody involved on the show, with letting me, you know, put my two cents in.”
She earned more than two cents with three Emmy and two Golden Globes awards for “The Sopranos.” That kind of success makes people listen.
Actors often visit real locations to prepare for roles. Falco didn’t have to because she saw “Nurse Jackie” as being a show about a woman who just happens to be a nurse.
Plus, the idea of visiting an emergency room, filled with people dealing with awful problems, to do research didn’t appeal to Falco. She counts heavily on the show’s technical advisors to make sure she looks and sounds like she knows what she’s doing.
“If you are seeing a show about something technical, and technically, it looks stupid, you’ve lost half of the viewers immediately. It’s important to me that we don’t go there,” Falco says.
The new role could come with a downside. During “The Sopranos’” run from January 1999 to June 2007, there was criticism about the show’s association of Italian-Americans with crime. But Falco said she’s not concerned some nurses may protest because they find this character offensive.
“People’s reactions to shows are as individual as the people that are reacting. So I have no way of knowing what to expect,” she said. “I am not even remotely concerned, to be honest with you.”