Steven Van Zandt, who moved on from Bruce Springsteen’s band to play a gangster on “The Sopranos” TV series, looks set for a new run of sorts. He’s been cast as a gangster again, this time in a new series being made for Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
“I missed my gangster,” Van Zandt told newspaper Aftenposten last week. He also appeared on the popular Scandinavian talk show Skavlan Friday night, to chat about his new role.
He says he’ll play a new gangster character, a New York mafia boss who “gets into trouble” with his higher-ups and needs to disappear. He takes part in a witness protection program and agrees to be relocated to Lillehammer in Norway, “because he loves winter sports” and had seen Lillehammer on TV when it hosted the Winter Olympics.
The series, called an action comedy, will be called “Lilyhammer,” a reflection of the town’s mispronunciation by many non-Norwegians, and filming will begin in January. Producer Trond Berg Nilsen claimed it will be a “quality” series that hopefully will appeal to an international audience.
“Even though he’s been a mafia boss in New York, he winds up as an immigrant in Norway and experiences absurd situations and cultural collisions,” Berg Nilsen told Aftenposten.
Van Zandt, who has performed in Norway several times and works with Scandinavian bands, said he’s delighted to play a part. “It’s a good script, a good role … and I just couldn’t give up the gangster role,” he told Aftenposten.
He also remains keen on Norwegian and Scandinavian music, claiming on the Skavlan show that Scandinavia is producing some of the best rock and roll music in the business at present.