After playing mobsters in Prizzi’s Honor and Scarface, Robert Loggia says he’s “got a lot of concrete” in his blood. The son of Sicilian immigrants, he grew up on the Lower East Side (“The wiseguys protected the area”) and Staten Island and joins The Sopranos this season as Feech La Manna, just out of the joint.
Is it tough as the new guy in such a strong ensemble? It’s like a marathon—people are running 26 miles, and you’re joining for the final five miles. It’s kind of daunting.
Do people stay in character in between scenes? When you’re at the Bada Bing Club for fourteen hours and the girls are jumping up and down in their G-strings and throwing their legs over their heads, it’s kind of titillating at first, then it wears on you. But the guys seem to stay in character at the club.
Should we worry about your character’s health? You have to worry about everybody’s health. Feech La Manna started with Soprano’s old man. Now he’s coming out of the slammer, wearing bad clothes and a bad haircut, and he’s got to kiss the ring, if not the ass, of a kid he considered kinda fat and stupid.
Is it difficult to work for different directors each episode? No, the real maestro is David Chase. He’s there behind the curtains. There will be a break, the director will be called off for a second, and you’ll know he’s spoken to Chase because when he comes back, it’s on another track. You don’t change prepositions, let alone verbs and nouns. You adhere to the scripts on pain of death.
You’re 74. Will this role change your career? I hope so.