Boardwalk Empire's Michael Pitt learned of character's fate via email
Story by Jack Foley
IT’S not just the gangsters of Boardwalk Empire who are ruthless in disposing of anyone who stands in their path it would seem… the writers, too, have admitted to a similarly no-nonsense approach to hiring and firing!
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, series creator Terence Winter confessed to telling Michael Pitt of his character’s fate via email!
Pitt played eries creator Terence Winter, the former right-hand man of Nucky (Steve Buscemi), who was surprisingly shot in the face by his former employer for betraying him at the end of season 2.
But while the action surprised fans of the show, the news of Jimmy’s fate was delivered in a similarly cold-blooded manner, according to Winter.
Speaking at an Emmy roundtable, Winter said that he tried his best to inform Pitt in the proper way, only to be thwarted by technology and Martin Scorsese!
“I always knew he would die at Nucky’s hand,” Winter says of the decision. “In plotting Season Two, it became clear that if we were going to tell this story honestly, it was going to happen at the end of the year. He was such a huge character and we love Michael. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make as a writer.”
But, according to Winter, Pitt wasn’t completely surprised either given that he had asked early on whether his character would survive.
In delivering the news, however, Winter was forced to deliver the knockout blow via email after a botched conference call with executive producer Martin Scorsese.
According to Winter, Pitt was in upstate New York on a fishing trip when he tried to contact him directly and kept losing cellular service, prompting Scorsese to advise on a different approach due to time constraints.
“Marty was like, ‘Let me just e-mail him.’” recalls Winter. “I said: ‘We can’t e-mail. We have to have this conversation.’ But we couldn’t get him back on the phone. So ultimately, I felt horrible, but I had to send him an e-mail: ‘I don’t want you to get the script and read this, but you sort of knew where this was going.’ He was totally fine with it.”
Pitt’s only request, apparently, was to depart with a bang… which Winter duly obliged.
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- Boardwalk Empire: The true story behind the characters
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