Van Zandt appeared on HBO's The Sopranos during its entire six-season run. We were in Rome for Harley-Davidson's 110th Europe Celebration, and had been taking pictures of bikes in front of the Palace Hotel. It was one of the hottest days of Summer in Rome on June 19, 2013 -- the day that Sopranos' star, James Gandolfini died of a heart attack around 10 pm at the Palace Hotel. He was only 51 years old.
Van Zandt tweeted, "I have lost a brother and a best friend. The world has lost one of the greatest actors of all time."
The American-Norwegian series, Lilyhammer made it's debut in Norway in January 2012 and 1/5th of the entire population of Norway watched it! It debuted in the USA as the first-ever Netflix Original series in February 2013. I watched all eight episodes via Netflix DVD and can not wait for season two.
It was such a big hit that Van Zandt cut his concert season short with the E Street Band in order to start work on season two as Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano, a New York mobster in the witness protection program aka Giovanni "Johnny" Henriksen.
Guitarist Tom Morello has stepped in for Van Zandt for the Australian leg of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Wrecking Ball Tour.
Lilyhammer is produced by Norway's Rubicon TV, who designed the series around Van Zandt, tailoring it to his wise-guy image honed from years playing Tony Soprano's trusted Consigliere, Silvio Dante. Netflix owns the North and Latin American rights.
Some of the best moments in the Sopranos were the ironies. Lillyhammer turns the Mafia theme completely into a dark comedy. Some of the lines are ROTFL hilarious. Van Zandt has some golden comments and brings something Italian-American over to little Norway. As a mobster, he is barely able to hide his cold as ice personality in the little town of Lillehammer, Norway. Only a crew of outlaw bikers can relate to him, and they are a far-cry from what you would call "professionals."
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