Funnily enough, Steve Buscemi’s attitude towards violence reflects the main theme of “The Sopranos”. The show examines the effects that a criminal lifestyle has on the human psyche, and the actor was so affected by his own portrayal of violence that he chose to re-route his career. Buscemi might have felt like he didn’t fit into the world of “The Sopranos,” but there was no one who understood it more — besides perhaps Chase himself.
His character, like the actor himself, is trying to escape from his own kind of pigeonhole. Tony B. always expected to go into a life of crime, having grown up in the same mafioso environment as Tony Soprano and Christopher, but his time in prison made him want to go straight. Once he finds himself on the outside, he realizes that even when he tries to avoid violence, the violence seems to find him. Tony B.’s time in prison and his desire to reform was “the key” to understanding the character, Buscemi said on Talking Sopranos.
Unsurprisingly, the actor’s favorite scene as Tony B. has no bloodshed in it — although it is incredibly ruthless.
“One of my favorite scenes, we’re having steak dinner,” Buscemi recounted on the podcast. “Tony comes up just to see how we’re doing, takes us out to a steak dinner, and we fall into this pattern where we’re just goofing on Christopher, and it’s relentless. It’s like they’re kids again.”
Tapping into childlike wonder has since taken precedence over gritty on-screen murder in Buscemi’s acting career, but who knows — maybe we’ll see the return of a villainous Nucky type one day, or maybe even a reformed ex-con type like Tony B. Only time will tell, but let’s be frank: Buscemi steals every scene he’s in, whether he’s a cold-blooded killer or a cartoon monster.