HBO turned the Pacific Design Center into Thai Town on Sunday night.
Theme of this year’s shindig was all about the far east isle of Siam, and the party space was dripping with purple and gold iconography and, of course delectable, and exotic eats. I particularly enjoyed an orange-chicken salad concoction with a light-sweet touch that hit the spot just right after getting parched in the packed-like-sardines press room for three-plus hours earlier in the night.
HBO’s party space was packed with stars, execs of all stripes (not just Time Warner folks), and even the dance floor got busy at one point. The Journey power ballad "Don’t Stop Believin’" that had such a powerful guest-star role in "The Sopranos" finale was playing (loudly) over the P.A. when I arrived at the party with Variety managing editor Kathy Lyford. Hearing that tune kinda put a slightly bittersweet vibe to the night for me, as if it was really HBO’s final-final farewell to the show that put the network into overdrive, and of course it was made all the more poignant by "Sopranos" bagging the top Emmy prize one last time, plus prestige wins in the drama series writing (David Chase, for the finale) and directing (Alan Taylor) categories that it has long dominated.
The whole "Sopranos" gang seemed in great spirits, particularly Chase, who was remarkably open to a few thousand people sidling up to his table to gush about what the show meant to them (me included, and he even offered a smile when I mentioned how cool it is to see his name on "Rockford Files" segs.) Most important, Chase reiterated what he said backstage at the Shrine: Don’t hold yer breath for a "Sopranos" movie. He won’t say never-ever, but it’d have to be a fantastic idea that would make for a pic worthy of the series. I pressed him on what’s next for him. He said nothing in particular, maybe a movie script down the road but nothing’s on the front burner.
(Pictured above left: "Sopranos" kids Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler; at right, Time Warner prexy Jeff Bewkes and "Sopranos’" Tony Sirico.)