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September 17, 2012 3PM EST

Q&A with Terence Winter

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  • Q

    Thanks to Terence Winter for joining us today. Welcome Terence! What was your favorite moment from last night's Season 3 premiere?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Gyp Rosetti's ill-advised rant in which he insults every major gangster on the Eastern seaboard is one of my favorite scenes in the entire series.

  • Q

    Will Margaret decide how much sin she can live with in this world?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Margaret embarks on a journey of self-discovery during Season 3 that leads her to answer that question.

  • Q

    In every episode Nucky gets darker and more serious. I missed the funny Nucky. Why is that changed ?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Nucky's attitude is determined by the circumstances he finds himself in. During the course of Season 2, those closest to him had betrayed him and his world was really closing in. Though there were moments of levity, he didn't exactly have a lot of time to enjoy being the king of Atlantic City.

  • Q

    Are we going to see a role in the place of "Michael Pitt"?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    I don't think it would be possible to replace Michael, whose character Jimmy Darmody was so integral to the first two seasons of the show. Instead, we'll be introducing new characters who are vastly different, though equally compelling.

  • Q

    Is Martin Scorsese ever going to direct another episode?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    As of right now, Marty is busy directing a film, but he knows the door is always open for him to direct an episode of Boardwalk whenever he'd like. And we all hope he takes us up on that offer.

  • Q

    Did the character of Tony Soprano influence the way you approached the writing for Nucky? Or is it impossible to compare the two?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    While there are certain similarities -- both are Jersey boys prone to criminal activity -- Tony and Nucky are very different characters. I'd say writing on The Sopranos influenced the manner in which our stories are told.

  • Q

    Agent Van Alden was last seen running away and settling in Chicago, will he still act as the law or does he have different motives now?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Van Alden's law career came to a grinding halt at the end of Season 2. When we pick him up this year, he is on the straight and narrow, trying to earn an honest living. But as we've seen, circumstance and temptation sometimes get the better of even the most righteous people.

  • Q

    Is Chalky White going to be a bigger character in this series?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Chalky will continue to grow as a character and become more intertwined in Nucky's world as the series progresses.

  • Q

    A lot of the show's story is based on real events & people. How much is fact and fiction and how difficult was it to balance this?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    One of our rules is that we always stay true to basic historical facts or the actual circumstances of a factual character's life. That said, as long as what we depict stays true to the spirit of the factual character, we feel we can take creative license. For example, it's a fact that Al Capone actually knew the real Nucky and spent a great deal of time in Atlantic City over the years. Using that as a starting point, we then felt it was possible that Capone may have known a guy like Jimmy Darmody, who is obviously fictional. In terms of historical events, we're even more strict. For example, the stock market crashed in 1929. As much as it might make a fun story, I wouldn't be comfortable changing the timeline of history and have that event happen in 1924.

  • Q

    Was using Bobby Canavale's natural comedic timing something you had fun using in the premiere's dinner scene, albeit in a darker manner?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Bobby Cannavale's natural comedic ability makes the world of Gyp Rosetti so much fun to write.

  • Q

    How important to you is the actual history of time period and historical people while working with a historical fiction?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    We try to take great pains to be as accurate as possible when dealing with our historical figures.

  • Q

    Was manny a revenge kill or was it because he was late to complete nucky's orders?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Manny's killing had nothing to do with Nucky's orders and we'll learn Harrow's motives as the season progresses.

  • Q

    Please elaborate on Remus always referring to himself in 3rd person.

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Remus referring to himself in the third person was an actual character trait we learned by doing research on the real person.

  • Q

    With the introduction of the new character Gyp, do you see him as competition for Al Capone?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Gyp and Al Capone are operating in different cities so they don't really compete head to head. They both overlap with Nucky's world, however, so that's not to say there won't be problems between these two as the season progresses.

  • Q

    Where are the beach scenes filmed?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    When we are on an actual beach it's Rockaway Beach in Queens, NY, but sometimes the ocean is done through visual effects on a computer.

  • Q

    Is it difficult to attract actors given the possibly short amount of time they may be on the show before being killed off?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    That's the roll of the dice you take as an actor when you accept the role on a gangster show.

  • Q

    Is there any tv show/movie about life in 20's that you enjoyed?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Boardwalk Empire.

  • Q

    I thought Manny Horvitz was a pretty solid character building up to a lot of promise, why was it necessary to kill him on the pilot?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    We are portraying the gangster world in a very realistic fashion and one of the results of that is that sometimes people die prematurely.

  • Q

    How far is Nucky willing to go, and at the end of this season can we still root for him?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Nucky is willing to do whatever it takes to hold on to what he has and whether or not you can root for him depends on how you feel about the character.

  • Q

    After Margaret gives the land away, I was expecting nuck to be more furious. Is this the last we see of this situation? Or will it rise up?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Last night's premiere was set 14 months after that even took place so it's safe to assume Nucky was furious when he found out. What we're seeing now is the residual effects of that event as it affects their relationship.

  • Q

    Do you have any plans to have any plans to bring in David Chase as a writer? You guys are such great collaborators.

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    I should be so lucky as to be able to work with David Chase again in any capacity, and of course he knows the door is always open if he should ever want to write a Boardwalk Empire script.

  • Q

    The show is unique, and quite entertaining. Is there any real challenges in keeping with the 20's themes visually?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Everything we do on the show is exponentially more challenging than if the show had been set in the modern era. Wardrobe, props, set design, and location are all more challenging given the fact that the show takes place 90 years in the past.

  • Q

    Do you believe that Van Alden (Mueller) could ever join forces with a gangster like Capone, or Rothstein?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    The better question is whether or not Van Alden believes it.

  • Q

    How will what Margaret did to Nucky at the end of the last season, affect their relationship?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    I think by the end of last night's premiere, we had the answer to that question.

  • Q

    Will the story go into the year of the Depression?

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    Terence Winter says:

    It's difficult to say how long the series will last, but I certainly hope we have many more seasons to come.

  • Q

    do you have a favorite sopranos episode ?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    My favorite Sopranos episode is the pilot, written and directed by David Chase. It ultimately became the single most important hour of TV in my career.

  • Q

    Are you affected for your own life when you write some chapter?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Sometimes it's difficult to write violent or emotional scenes, and it takes a while to shake that feeling off after I've written. Part of the job is to inhabit a head-space that you might not be comfortable in but again, that comes with becoming a writer.

  • Q

    Do you have any rituals before or after a season?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    I generally try to take some time off, do some reading and then get right back into it.

  • Q

    will Richard's killing spree continue

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Stay tuned.

  • Q

    The set and costume design of Boardwalk Empire is one of its main 'stars'. How extensive was the research you took to make the 20's come to life, and are there any particular favorite places/pieces that stand out to you?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    We take great pains to make sure that everything depicted in the show was accurate to the period given costumes, sets and props. We have a team of extremely talented professionals who oversee the various departments, including a full time researcher. Some of my favorite locations have included the Brooklyn street where Margaret's family lives as well as our Boardwalk set and the wardrobe at Nucky's New Year's Eve Party was particularly beautiful.

  • Q

    Did you plan Manny's death beforehand and does Harrow sees this as a way for Jimmy to rest in peace?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Manny's death was planned beforehand and Harrow's motives will become clearer as the season progresses.

  • Q

    How did your work on the Sopranos prepare (or not prepare) you for Boardwalk Empire?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    The Sopranos greatly influenced the manner in which I tell stories in which we assume that the audience is made up of people who are interested in watching challenging, character-driven adult programming.

  • Q

    Is Gyp Rosetti modeled off of any historical individual

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    No, Gyp Rosetti is completely a figment of our darkest imagination.

  • Q

    I'd love to learn a little about Chalky White's house in the series -- is it a real location? The interior craftsmanship was just beautiful!

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    It is a real location in a house located in Staten Island, NY. I believe it's from the early 20th century.

  • Q

    Who is your favorite character?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    I'm not just saying this to be a diplomat, but I really love all the characters on the show.

  • Q

    are there any scenes that are difficult for you to write?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    It's very difficult to write action scenes which require a lot of specific stage direction. It's also difficult to write the death of one of our regular characters on the show. We get attached to both the characters and the actors that portray them, and it's very difficult to write what you know will be their exit from the show.

  • Q

    Will Eddie Kessler be given more screen time? His comic relief scenes counterbalance some of the grim moments in Nucky's world.

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Eddie Kessler will be given more screen time and has a very large part in a pivotal episode toward the end of the season.

  • Q

    are we gonna see "Al Capone" more in the 3rd season?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    We will see more of Al Capone. 1923 was the year that really started to mark Capone's rise and him getting out from Johnny Torrio's shadow.

  • Q

    When I saw the first episode, I was surprised by the show's theme. Why did you choose not to use period music?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    We felt period music would be exactly what people would expect and we wanted to defy expectations. When experimenting, we juxtaposed several styles and when I heard the Brian Jones Massacre, I knew that's what we wanted to go with. I also wanted to put forth the idea that this was a modern take on the 1920s and I felt the music would help convey that idea.

  • Q

    When did Nelson get the babysitter pregnant? Who's the paddy florist?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    What Nelson does with his babysitter is nobody's business but their own. The Irish florist is Dean O'Banion, a real life historical figure who was Al Capone's major rival in Chicago. He's played by actor Arron Shiver.

  • Q

    Thank you to Terence Winter for participating in today’s Q&A, and for giving the fans an amazing S3 premiere last night. Any parting words?

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    A
    Terence Winter says:

    Thank you for watching and thanks for all your terrific questions.

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