SOPRANOS star Michael Imperioli got an offer he couldn’t refuse when a Scottish filmmaker volunteered to create a music video for the actor’s band.
James Price has teamed up with the TV Mafia hood – who played Christopher Moltisanti on the iconic show – to direct the promotional film for rock band Zopa’s new single.
And Michael loved the work of James – who brought a bit of Glasgow to the New York star’s musical endeavours, having been filmed in the Scottish town’s Springburn.
James first came into contact with the American entertainer after “going through a dark time” when his father Jim died aged 57 last year.
He explains: “One morning I was watching the Michael Talking Sopranos podcast and he mentioned the band. I started listening to his album online so I thought I’d message him on Instagram.
“I sent him one of my shorts and three of his songs that I liked and said, ‘Listen man, I’m a little filmmaker in Glasgow and if you ever wanted someone to make a film for one of your videos, I really like these songs’.
“At first he was apprehensive – he didn’t want me to do it without money and wanted to wait until there was a budget.
“I said, ‘F*** a man on a budget, let me do it.'” He was really sweet and said we could do it.
James’ video for the Zopa song Diamonds Into Dust tells the story of a young couple who go on a Bonnie and Clyde-style crime spree in the filmmaker’s Springburn neighborhood after ripping off drug dealers.
Price wrote and directed it – also as a mobster – and assembled a team.
Rob Roy and Line of Duty actor Brian McCardie play a gang leader while the runaway couple are Rian Gordon, who starred in last year’s hit Amazon movie Get Duked, and Amy Manson, born in Aberdeenshire, who stars in the HBO series The Nevers.
The single is the final release from Zopa’s album, La Dolce Vita.
And James reveals that Imperioli – who made his cinematic breakthrough in Martin Scorsese’s classic Goodfellas and then rose to worldwide fame as Tony Soprano’s brash nephew Christopher – gave him full creative freedom.
The 32-year-old says: “Michael was so solid. He didn’t want to tell me what the song was about, he didn’t want to influence the video at all.
“Maybe he gave me too much freedom – I feel like I made an insane Scottish music video.”
The musical promo is dedicated to her late father, who was also a huge Sopranos fan.
James – who has made a series of award-winning shorts and has major TV projects in development – recalls: “I had my dad in my head all the time saying ‘You gotta do this one good , little man’. I grew up with The Sopranos, it’s always been a big part of my life.
“Right before my dad passed away, we were watching Michael on the Talking Sopranos podcast together, and it feels like a great synchronicity.
“And I’ll be honest, I joked with my buddies that my dad’s ghost must have been whispering in Michael’s ear because it’s so surreal that he agreed to do it.”
He adds, “The whole video is inspired by the things we would watch together. I really wanted to do something for my dad. We have a dedication for him at the end and I wanted to do something he would have liked.
“His death was really sudden and very quick – he had an unexpected stroke. We lived together in the apartment where we shot the clip.
James jokes, “I had to clean it up to make it look more like the goof of a realistic drug dealer!”
The up-and-coming filmmaker was blown away by how so many others have helped bring the labor of love to life.
He says, “Everyone has been so generous in giving me their time and getting on board.
“I had done a short film with Brian McCardie a few years ago and he was so supportive. He drove up from Dundee and didn’t even accept the petrol money.
“I met Amy a few years ago and wrote a short film that she really wanted to do, but when it happened she was thrilled to come on board and she was brilliant.
“She’s on this big new HBO show and here she comes to Springburn to film the music video for a little lunatic.
“She’s so laid back and just went crazy.”
The video will be posted by Imperioli and Zopa on their social media next week – and they are delighted to have chosen James.
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The American star had this to say: “The band are thrilled, both by the passionate intentions of James and his band of filmmakers and by the result which merges film and music through an atomic collision of inspiration.”
James says, “It’s so surreal to work with Michael. He’s definitely more solid than any celebrity I’ve dealt with – he’s such a lovely guy and he was really empathetic because I lost my dad.
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“If my father hadn’t died and I wasn’t in such a dark moment, I don’t think I would have had the nerve to do this – and, to be honest, Michael might not have didn’t have the patience to let me do it.
“I have never seen anyone at this level being so generous, he was so supportive and gave me complete freedom.
“It’s not the easiest decision to let this crazy little Scottish filmmaker make a music video for his single, but they did it and it’s absolutely solid.”
– The Diamonds Into Dust video will be posted on Michael Imperioli’s Instagram page at 6 p.m. on May 8
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