1. As the HBO series Boardwalk Empire about rival gangsters, corrupt politicians and federal agents starts its fifth and final season, show creator Terence Winter reminisces on how it began.
In the interview he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about how he studied gangster films with Martin Scorsese (who directed the pilot episode) in preparation for Boardwalk Empire:

"That entire month of going to Martin Scorsese’s office and watching gangster films with him was the best film course you’ve ever had times a billion. Getting to sit with him watching Rod Steiger’s Al Capone, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, all these classic films, Public Enemy, and to hear his live commentary.
He’s very much about truth and real moments and real performances. He understands the juxtaposition of violence and humor, having an incredibly tense scene and then letting the air out of it, let the audience breathe with a light moment. Some of Martin Scorsese’s films that are very violent, Goodfellas for example, Raging Bull, at times, can be very funny. These guys are so absurd in some ways that you almost can’t help but laugh at them — I think The Sopranos was like that too.”
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    As the HBO series Boardwalk Empire about rival gangsters, corrupt politicians and federal agents starts its fifth and final season, show creator Terence Winter reminisces on how it began.

    In the interview he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about how he studied gangster films with Martin Scorsese (who directed the pilot episode) in preparation for Boardwalk Empire:

    "That entire month of going to Martin Scorsese’s office and watching gangster films with him was the best film course you’ve ever had times a billion. Getting to sit with him watching Rod Steiger’s Al Capone, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, all these classic films, Public Enemy, and to hear his live commentary.

    He’s very much about truth and real moments and real performances. He understands the juxtaposition of violence and humor, having an incredibly tense scene and then letting the air out of it, let the audience breathe with a light moment. Some of Martin Scorsese’s films that are very violent, Goodfellas for example, Raging Bull, at times, can be very funny. These guys are so absurd in some ways that you almost can’t help but laugh at them — I think The Sopranos was like that too.”

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  1. On how Henry Hill decreased his frequent prison sentences: "There are religious furloughs where you go out for religious training. It allows you to get out of the program and have contact with your family. … Henry sees this and he says, ‘Get me a religious guy.’ So they got a phony rabbi to write the letter to the prison. The prison is very responsive to religious letters. All of a sudden, Henry is now going off on ‘religious studies’ on weekends.
"He got Jimmy Burke to pick him up, they’d cross Pennsylvania, go to Atlantic City, he’d belly up to the craps table and shoot craps until his ankles swolled. And that’s what he would do for his whole religious weekend. Then get back in the car Sunday night and drive back to the prison. At the same time, his wife would fly down from New York and other wiseguys would come down — and their weekends in prison were spent in Atlantic City." View in High-Res

    On how Henry Hill decreased his frequent prison sentences: "There are religious furloughs where you go out for religious training. It allows you to get out of the program and have contact with your family. … Henry sees this and he says, ‘Get me a religious guy.’ So they got a phony rabbi to write the letter to the prison. The prison is very responsive to religious letters. All of a sudden, Henry is now going off on ‘religious studies’ on weekends.

    "He got Jimmy Burke to pick him up, they’d cross Pennsylvania, go to Atlantic City, he’d belly up to the craps table and shoot craps until his ankles swolled. And that’s what he would do for his whole religious weekend. Then get back in the car Sunday night and drive back to the prison. At the same time, his wife would fly down from New York and other wiseguys would come down — and their weekends in prison were spent in Atlantic City."

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  1. Today: we remember mobster-turned-informant Henry Hill, who died earlier this week. Hill was portrayed by Ray Liotta inGoodfellas. We’re going to talk toNick Pileggiwho wrote the book about Hill’s life which became the basis forGoodfellas.

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