) Terry Winter Interview: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 3 | Boardwalk Empire Notes | Arts & Entertainment | Atlantic City Weekly


Terry Winter Interview: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 3

AC Weekly chats with the creator of the HBO original series Boardwalk Empire, the third season of which premieres on Sunday, Sept. 16.

By Jeff Schwachter
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Sep. 6, 2012

Share this Story:

Steve Buscemi as Enoch "Nucky" Thompson in Season 3 of HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire'

Photo by Macall B. Polay (HBO)

Last December, as the second season of the award-winning HBO original series Boardwalk Empire came to a close, many fans of the show were downright distraught as one of the series' key and most love-able characters — Jimmy Darmody (Michael Pitt) — was killed. Tweets and posts and message boards were flooded with shrieks of "WHY????!!" and the such.

But according to the show's creator, executive producer and showrunner Terry Winter, that was planned out from the get-go.

Winter took some time out of finishing shooting the third season of Boardwalk Empire, which debuts on HBO Sunday, Sept. 16, 9pm (EST), to chat with Atlantic City Weekly as he has done each year since the show was in production mode. Here are some excerpts.

(READ: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season Three Preview Guide: Interviews, new characters and contests!)

Have all of the episodes for Season Three been shot as of now?

We are currently shooting episode 11 [and] we are in the process of prepping episode 12, which should start shooting in about a week and that will be it. We’ll wrap up at the end of September. So, yeah, we’re coming down the home stretch of season three.

When did you determine that Jimmy would be killed?

Pretty early on. As we started plotting out the season, it became evident to me that the only logical conclusion to that story line was that Jimmy was going to die. I mean I knew that Jimmy was going to die from the beginning of the series, when I started plotting it out. It’s almost foreshadowed in the pilot when Jimmy tells Nucky: “You can’t be half a gangster anymore,” and I knew that at one point Nucky would cross that line and fully become a gangster. I knew he would do it by killing the guy who said that to him, which was Jimmy. I didn’t know when that was going to happen, of course, but as season two started playing out it became evident that if we were going to tell that story honestly, the way to do it [was] for Jimmy to die.

And “You Can’t Be Half a Gangster” is now the tag line for season three.

Yeah, it kind of lent itself to our whole ad campaign and that’s where Nucky is right now. We’re kind of jumping ahead 14 months or so into the future from where Episode 12 [season two] ends. It’s early 1923, actually the very beginning of 1923. And, you know, the game has changed quite a bit. Things have gotten a lot more violent, a lot more competitive, and Nucky has sort of had to up his game as well in order to survive.

Nucky looks rather sick and is hallucinating through the first five episodes of season three.

Yeah, I mean [killing Jimmy] was a major step for him. So, we sort of felt like we wanted to see some of the psychological remnants of having done that. I mean the guy was like a surrogate son to him so he can’t be completely — even if you ask him the question to his face he’d say he doesn’t give a shit, but I think deep dark secrets, being what they are, I think late at night, and when you’re sleeping these are the things that come back to haunt you. And we were interested in exploring that.

The new showgirl on the show, Billie Kent — was she a real-life performer of the era?

No, she is fictional, someone of our own invention. We just sort of came up with her to give Nucky a new mistress. There was a showgirl who rented an apartment from Arnold Rothstein, who was actually murdered in 1921 and found dead in her apartment. But we basically stole the idea that she was a tenant of Rothstein’s, but that’s about as far as the similarities go. She’s not really mean to be that other person.


(READ: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season Three Preview Guide: Interviews, new characters and contests!)

It seems like everybody smokes in the 1920s.

Yes, yes. There was some ad from the 1920s, a billboard that read how many billions are sold every year — Lucky Strike or Camel. They made a very concerted effort in the late teens to make it clear that smoking for women was appropriate. They actually tried to tie it into the suffragette movement. One of the tobacco companies actually staged a publicity stunt where they said they were going to be lighting “torches of freedom” and it was women smoking, the torches being the cigarette. Because that was 50 percent of their market, you know, that was not opened up because women traditionally did not smoke.  Suddenly that became acceptable for women and it was a huge thing.

There must be a lot of cigarette butts on the set of Boardwalk Empire.

Yeah, but they are all herbal cigarettes. Because of union rules nobody’s allowed to actually smoke real cigarettes. Even with the cigars, they’re not real. I think the actors who actually have to smoke them think they’re absolutely vile because they’re not real tobacco. They’re kind of made out of banana peels or something. I’m not really sure what they’re all made of, but they’re not real cigarettes and they’re not real cigars.

READ: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season Three Preview Guide: Interviews, new characters and contests!


Follow AC Weekly's Boardwalk Empire Fan Club Facebook Page

Watch AC Weekly's Web series on the stories behind Atlantic City's history

Visit our Boardwalk Empire page for interviews, history, articles and more

Visit AC Weekly's Local History Page for almost anything you'd want to know about Atlantic City's storied past.

Add to favoritesAdd to Favorites PrintPrint Send to friendSend to Friend



(HTML and URLs prohibited)

Related Content

Coasting: Read-in Honoring Dr. King Jan. 18 at AC Library
By AC Weekly Staff

Plus: Final season for 'Boardwalk Empire'; Somers Point Jazz Society honors WRTI's Bob Perkins and a new book on basketball legend Red Klotz

RELATED: Local History: 'Boardwalk Empire' Favorite 50 Albums of 2013 ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Is Back
 for Season 4 ‘Sweet’ Gig with Globetrotters How he played the game

Related Content

'Boardwalk Empire' Will End Its Run with Final Season This Fall
By Jeff Schwachter

"We've decided to wrap up the series after such a great run and look forward to bringing it to a powerful and exciting conclusion."

RELATED: How 'Boardwalk Empire' Found Nelson Johnson Boardwalk Empire Season 2 Premiere Weekend in Atlantic City Laciura’s Living the Life, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Style Vince Giordano: The Man Behind the Music of 'Boardwalk Empire' The Sounds of ‘Boardwalk Empire’

Related Content

'Boardwalk Empire' Season 4 Snapshots
By Jeff Schwachter

Meet the new characters and view scenes from the upcoming award-winning drama series' fourth season, which debuts Sunday, Sept. 8, 9pm (ET).

RELATED: 'Boardwalk Empire' Set To Return in September on HBO Boardwalk Empire Season 3 Updates ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Lucky Charms
 'Boardwalk Empire' Trivia!

Related Content

Coasting: ‘Project Runway’ Comes to 
Hamilton Mall
By AC Weekly Staff

On Thursday evening, Aug. 15, the popular TV show Project Runway will be coming to the Hamilton Mall in Mays Landing with the show’s first winner, Jay McCarroll, hosting a “Battle of the Runways.”

RELATED: 'Boardwalk Empire" Wins Two at Golden Globes, 'Boardwalk Empress' a Hit! ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Soundtrack 

Related Content

Tats and 'Tiques Back in Atlantic City
By Ray Schweibert

Atlantic City hosts tattoo expo, antique show, and the 5th annual A.C. Cinefest, plus more.

RELATED: From Bizarre to Sublime: Bizzare AC Sixth Atlantic City Cinefest Seinfeld’s Beans Exploring the 1920s in Atlantic City ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Season Three Preview
 Garden Pier Re-Opens 1912 Prohibition Party Convention
 Entertainment: Music, Film and Sports The African-American Experience in Atlantic City Coasting: Spooky Events Sud-tastic Celebration

Related Content

'Boardwalk Empire' Wins Emmy; Season 3 Gets Intense
By Jeff Schwachter

In episode 26, "Spaghetti & Coffee," Eli Thompson is let out of jail, and gangster Gyp Rosetti takes over the fictional New Jersey town of Tabor Heights.

RELATED: Coasting: Lance Fung to Speak at Stockton ‘Boardwalk’ Buzz 

Related Content

Atlantic County Clerk's Office to Host Historic Event
By Ray Schweibert

Discovery of a 250-year-old deed sparked the idea for a special event to be hosted by the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office in Mays Landing on Thursday, Sept. 27.

RELATED: Atlantic City's Casino Era Old Atlantic City: Pre-Gaming Era Steeped in History Feast On History, Support Education Atlantic City History: Conversations & Storytelling - The Boardwalk, Pt. 1 Caller, You're on the Air

Related Content

Truth and Soul, Boardwalk Empire and a Short White Mule
By Jeff Schwachter

The fifth annual AC Cinefest, presented by the Downbeach Film Festival, will feature Robert Downey Sr. in addition to Terry Winter, award-winning creator of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, and actor Peter Dobson.

RELATED: 2012 Oscar Nominations and Predictions Bob Dylan's Tribute to Martin Scorsese Scorsese’s ‘Shutter’

Related Content

Terence Winter Interview
By Michael Pritchard

"What can I say, interesting shit happens in New Jersey."

RELATED: Top 12 '5 Questions With ...' Interviews of 2011

Related Content

The Original Gangsters: Nucky, Capone, Luciano and 'Boardwalk Empire'
By Michael Pritchard

Early in the premiere episode of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, a crowd of dapper Atlantic City movers and shakers, partying well into the night in a spiffy supper club, make a familiar countdown, cocktail glasses held high...

RELATED: Beth Tinnon: 'A Night at the Speakeasy' Ken Burns on 'Prohibition' and 'Boardwalk Empire' Boardwalk Empire's Agent Sebso Stars in New Viral Video Boardwalk Empire’s Agent Sebso Stars in New Rap Video
 Baseball, 'Boardwalk Empire' and Arnold Rothstein 2011 Holiday Gift Guide Interview with Comedian Steven Wright HBO Debuts 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 2 Trailer A Stroll Down the 
Atlantic City Boardwalk
. Part Two Battling Booze
 Song, Dance . . . Demeaning? Antique ‘Empire’ Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire Win Again Hello Sunday, Hello 1920: 'Boardwalk Empire' Turns Back the Clock. ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Trivia Atlantic City Still Magical for Vicki Gold-Levi HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire' the Talk of Atlantic City Photos, Video and Observations from HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire' Premiere Party at Caesars Atlantic City 5 Questions With ... Vincent Piazza of 'Boardwalk Empire' Paz de la Huerta: Nucky's (Show) Girl on 'Boardwalk Empire' The Atlantic City Experience Wanted In Atlantic City HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire' Picks Up Golden Globe Nominations Atlantic City History - Conversations & Storytelling: The Boardwalk, Pt. 2 Alantic City History - Conversations & Storytelling: Success in Atlantic City, Pt. 1

Related Content

Empire Builders: From Plexus to HBO
By Jim Waltzer

By 2000, Hammonton-based historian Nelson Johnson had compiled the first comprehensive history of Atlantic City between two covers, and enlisted the help of two New York literary agents in structuring and marketing the manuscript. His book, called Nucky’s Town (after political boss Enoch “Nucky” Johnson), presented a road map through the storied city by the sea, complete with detours, pitfalls, and pockmarks.

RELATED: Northside's Unsung Heroes Causing Stir

Related Content

5 Questions With ... Terence Winter
By Michael Pritchard

"What can I say, interesting shit happens in New Jersey. But really the New Jersey factor is almost incidental. This is about Atlantic City and a specific era in A.C. — the ’20s, which was just a really cool time and place to be. I’ve always been fascinated by Atlantic City and came down here a lot when I was a kid. Nelson’s book covers the whole history of Atlantic City from when it was marsh and seashore to present day."

RELATED: Terence Winter Is In the Season
 of His Contentment

Related Content

Stephen DeRosa: Eddie Cantor in 'Boardwalk Empire'
By Jeff Schwachter

"Eddie lived in a kind of musically optimistic 1920s place even though he had a shitty childhood. His parents died when he was young but his grandmother raised him and he was little and scrawny so he got beaten up a lot. He learned to make jokes so he could avoid getting beaten up, so from then on he realized this singing and dancing thing could work."

RELATED: Diana Krall Brings ‘Doll’
 to Borgata Life After Jimmy Embracing ‘Boardwalk Empire’ The Sophie Tucker of 'Boardwalk Empire'

Related Content

A Grammy for Atlantic City: 'Boardwalk Empire' Soundtrack Wins Grammy
By Jeff Schwachter 

“It’s been my love and passion ever since I was five years old and I think this music moves people. People who come to see us, they say, ‘When I got here I was in kind of a blah mood, not so good, or depressed, or whatever and I come out in just a whole different place. I’m laughing, my spirits are lifted, it’s cheaper than going to a psychiatrist!’”

RELATED: Coasting: Manuel Talkin’ 
Baseball at Trop
 Atlantic City Ballet Roars with ‘Swing’ and 'Sins' for 30th Anniversary Mentoring Atlantic City’s Impressionable Youth
 Vince Giordano on 'Boardwalk Empire' Soundtrack Grammy Win 5 Questions with TV Critic David Bianculli on Boardwalk Empire's Second Season Leon Redbone Returns
 to Stockton

Related Content

Free Screening of Season 2 Premiere of 'Boardwalk Empire' at Caesars Atlantic City
By Jeff Schwachter

Terry Winter, the executive producer, creator and one of the chief writers for the award-winning, Martin Scorsese directed HBO drama series Boardwalk Empire, has finally wrapped filming on the second season's last episode as of Wednesday, Sept. 7.

RELATED: Sunday’s ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Premiere Party Paz de la Huerta Interview

Related Content

Behind the Commodore: Dabney Coleman
By David J. Spatz

"“Before we even shot, I would call Terry Winter and ask, ‘By the way, which character am I talking to, and what do I mean by what I’m saying here?’”

Related Content

'Boardwalk Empire' Renewed for Another Season
By Jeff Schwachter

A huge audience of 4.8 million people watched the Sunday night premiere, which ran against a big football game featuring the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts, more than any other HBO premiere episode in more than five years...

RELATED: Scorsese's Valentine to Cinema
 “Boardwalk Empire” in the News Atlantic City Nightlife Circa 1920s Michael Kenneth Williams Back on HBO Behind the Digital Masks of HBO's 'Boardwalk Empire'