Michael Imperioli has lifted the lid on his “otherworldly” attempts to get his 1999 thriller Summer of Sam made.
Directed by and featuring Spike Lee, the crime drama follows a group of New York City Bronx residents as their fear and distrust for one another grows amid the 1977 “Son of Sam” murders.
It also featured Imperioli, 57, who co-wrote the screenplay when he was living in Manhattan’s notoriously haunted Chelsea Hotel.
“I had just begun writing Summer of Sam with Victor Colicchio – we wrote that script together,” the Goodfellas star said in an exclusive clip from the forthcoming Ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel documentary, shared with Variety.
“I really wanted to get it made. So I met somebody who was living here who was a witch, who said she could help me get it made, but it wasn’t going to happen the way I thought it would,” Imperioli recalled.
“I was very ambitious at the time and wanted to get that made, so [I] resorted to tapping into otherworldly means to get it through the studio system.”
Imperioli was 29 when he moved into the infamous hotel, which he described as “a very mythical place”.
“Especially if you’re an artist in New York, it looms very large, and the idea of living here seemed not really possible,” he added.
Summer of Sam starred John Leguizamo as womaniser Vinny, who nearly falls victim to the serial killer. After which, he and his wife (Mira Sorvino), punk-rocker friend (Adrien Brody), and aspiring adult film star (Jennifer Esposito) join forces to try and uncover the killer’s identity before it’s too late.
That same year, Imperioli starred in David Chase’s critically acclaimed mob boss series The Sopranos as Christopher Moltisanti, the role he would become best known for.
In an interview with The Guardian last month, the actor reflected on the most “brutal and difficult” scenes he filmed for the six-season drama, which ran from 1999 to 2007.
“The most brutal, difficult stuff for me is when Christopher had to be physically abusive with Adriana, for obvious reasons,” Imperioli said. “On a technical level, you’re trying to be really careful so you don’t hurt the person. But having to get to that point of violence towards a woman, you have to go to some nasty places to get there.
“Sometimes it’s very immediate. Sometimes it’s something present in your life that you can tap into. Sometimes you have to go someplace from the past. And sometimes you have to go to someplace imaginary. It’s much easier shooting a mobster or shooting heroin. That stuff to me is not difficult. But that stuff with her was.”