Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Politics of the Sopranos.

Who knew that tree-hugging ex-politicians loved “The Sopranos”? It turns out that Al Gore is a die-hard fan, but when the series finale loomed in early June, he and his wife, Tipper, had to be on a plane for an appearance in Istanbul.

So Mr. Gore, now better known as the star of “An Inconvenient Truth” than as the former vice president of the United States, called Brad Grey, the chairman of Paramount whose studio distributed his documentary, for a favor. Mr. Grey is also an executive producer of “The Sopranos,” from his previous incarnation as a Hollywood manager. Could Mr. Gore get an advance copy of the final episode, he wanted to know?

No way, said Mr. Grey. “I’ve turned down everyone who’s asked,” he recalled telling Mr. Gore. That episode was the holy grail, and he couldn’t risk it being leaked.

But after a night of tossing and turning, Mr. Grey had a change of heart. On the Sunday of the finale, he had a Halliburton-made steel case, containing a copy of the episode, delivered to the tarmac where Mr. Gore’s plane sat in Chicago. The case was locked with a code (some might call it a “lockbox”). Mr. Gore could not open it until the plane was in the air, when he was instructed to call Mr. Grey’s office for the numeric code. Mr. Gore sent Mr. Grey a photo of himself trying to pry open the case, which Mr. Grey now keeps on his desk.

And unlike that final episode, this story had a postscript. After the tale of Mr. Gore’s special delivery made the rounds of Hollywood political circles, the Republican candidate Rudolph W. Giuliani called Mr. Grey, a longtime friend, to complain. Why didn’t he get a special “Sopranos” delivery, too?


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