The pages of HBO’s award-winning epic novel of a series continue to turn, as Atlantic City and the early 1920s take center stage — along with some of the finest acting, writing and storytelling on TV today.
And the same goes with the young pair in New York — Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky.
Yeah, I’m much more interested in exploring who those guys were. I know who they became.
It’s interesting how the issue of pre-natal care for women comes up in the new season, especially with regard to the current presidential election and women’s rights being a major issue among some voters.
Right, that was really a coincidence. I mean, this was an issue we wanted to explore for Margaret. In terms of the parallels between what’s going on then and now, it just felt so topical even though we’re still having the same debate about birth control and abortion and some of these other things that we were back then. I was surprised during my research to find out that women weren’t even allowed to possess birth control — that was a crime. It’s mind boggling when you think about it, but I think the vast majority of people today have no idea that that’s the case.
There are a lot of similarities between the 1920s and today as illustrated on the show. Human life, for instance, doesn’t seem to mean much to anybody looking for revenge or money. Drugs, racism, religion and turf/land rights still lead to violence around the globe and greed and corruption rule the day.
Yeah, it’s incredible. We think, “God, have we not evolved at all?” It always blows my mind. You know, we have guys blowing up buildings and flying planes into buildings because their invisible person in the sky is better than your invisible person in the sky. It’s insane. I mean, it’s the 21st century; we can put a rocket on Mars and we’re still fighting about things that people fought about who thought that “it’s raining because God is angry at us.” I mean, that level of analysis of things is really frightening in some ways.
How much of Season Three was plotted out in the early stages of developing the series?
Well, I knew as we went along with the series that I would want to expand on the various characters and their situations, so it was really the question of having the time and a luxury to do that. There’s a lot of setup in Season One of meeting some of these people for the first time and then once we spent a little time [with a character like Chalky White, for example] we then had the ability to go home and see what his family life was like. And once we met those people, we said, “Well, OK, we want to do stories on his relationship with those people.” So, the longer you go on with the series, it begets the opportunity to tell more stories and deeper stories about the characters. [Certain stories] weren’t specifically planned out in Season One, but I knew at some point we’d get to see all of these types of things. … We sort of think of [the series] as an epic novel. Something like that.
Do you already have an idea what’s going to transpire in Season Four?
Yeah, pretty much — in very broad strokes. I’m pretty well set on where we’re going to go. We’ll continue to move into the future, of course, and things continue along the trajectory they’re on for Nucky, who is a gangster. Not to go into too much detail — let’s get Season Three off first — but yeah, I know where we’re headed.
It’s 1923 in Season Three. Any real-life events from that year that will play a part in the upcoming season? Obviously, people know that President Harding died in office that year, and stuff like that.
Yeah, there is some political stuff that happened [that year]. There were scandals in the White House [and] the President did die in late 1923. Even right out of the gate [in the debut episode of Season Three] with the New Year’s party and the whole King Tut theme. King Tut’s tomb was just discovered two months before that — I think it was November 1922 — so we did the whole Egyptian theme, which was a big craze back then. Margaret is very much on the cutting edge, you know, having a New Year’s party with an Egyptian theme. So, yeah, less with specific events that happened and more general cultural [things]. People started to stockpile alcohol when Prohibition was enacted and then by 1923 it was starting to run out, so you got more guys like Gyp Rosetti around who were competing and the level of violence increased, the level of competition increased, there was a lot of that stuff. I think those are the changes that you’ll see more so than necessarily historical events.
Gangsters and their customers started turning to harder drugs around this time, too.
Yeah, well, the heroin trade really started to boom and that’s what Lansky and Luciano were involved in in ’23. So we explore that as the season goes on as well.
There was a clip that appeared on YouTube late this summer that apparently captured a huge explosion on the Brooklyn set of Boardwalk Empire. I hope that wasn’t an accident during filming!
No (laughs), that was not an accident. That was very well staged and done extremely safely, even though it was really spectacular. I mean, it was really big and really dramatic, but you’ll see as the season goes on.
Bobby Cannavale as Gyp Rosetti
“A touchy gangster with a thirst for bootleg whiskey,” according to HBO, Rosetti is Nucky’s new foe.
Arron Shiver as Dean O’Banion
The real-life Irish mobster, who was Al Capone’s Chicago rival, is introduced this season.
Stephen Root as Gaston Means
Veteran actor Root (Talk Radio, Office Space) portrays the creepy con man and convicted criminal associated with the Warren G. Harding administration.
Fifty years after his death in a car crash at age 42, the Mercer County native is showcased in two new DVD releases and a CD.
Atlantic City hosts tattoo expo, antique show, and the 5th annual A.C. Cinefest, plus more.
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.
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.
After being away for a couple of weeks, I had to make a trip to our Boardwalk, for inevitably, this time of year brings a hint of sadness to those of us who love all things summer.
The Chelsea is revisiting the Prohibition era by “conjuring the long-lost period of glamour, gangsters and speakeasies” with a special cocktail menu that befits the era. Bartenders with an historical perspective on cocktails might note that Prohibition ...
“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!’”
In real life, Nucky Johnson, Atlantic City’s Boardwalk emperor during the 1920s, did eventually marry a former showgirl and actress, a local woman named Flossie Osbeck. But that didn’t happen until one day before Johnson began serving a four-year prison term for tax fraud in 1941. There’s little historical evidence to support the fact that Lucy is patterned after Osbeck.
It was a windy and rainy mid-September night for the Atlantic City premiere of the much anticipated new HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Regional storms pounded the beach and Boardwalk with crashing ocean waves and assaulting wind gusts. We're talking not only hold onto your hat, but everything else, too.
"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."
After retiring as a professional opera singer, Anthony Laciura figured he’d channel his energies into helping budding operatic stars hone their craft ... Then came a call from the office of the director of the planned HBO series 'Boardwalk Empire'
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...
The long-awaited DVD set featuring the complete first season of HBO's Boardwalk Empire will be released in January 2012.
“[Empire’s] helped remind people of what a colorful history we’ve had as a city, and helped bring these things back into focus for some people. And I think the fact that the series is very well regarded only helps.”
In a “news” box on the upper right side of the Archeophone Records home page, there’s a list of the songs played thus far in the first two episodes of HBO’s 'Boardwalk Empire,' set in 1920s Atlantic City.
The Wrecking Crüe
Laughing with George Lopez
Fight Night at Boardwalk Hall