David Chase signs with Paramount

'Sopranos' creator pacts for first feature

David Chase, creator of “The Sopranos,” has signed on to write, direct and produce his first feature film for Paramount Pictures.

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but the studio described the project as an original drama. A source familiar with the deal said the drama will not revisit the world of the Mafia, which provided the basis for “The Sopranos.”

“He’s been there, done that,” the insider said. “He’s moving on.”

In fact, Chase is still mulling what exactly the project will encompass, and he’s expected to take his time in delivering his script.

Deal would not preclude a bigscreen version of “The Sopranos” ever being made — a prospect often speculated about given the success of the series. However, there are no current plans to revive the property.

Chase has a longstanding relationship with Paramount chairman Brad Grey, his producing partner on “The Sopranos.” The deal gives the multihyphenate tremendous creative freedoms, including final cut, which is uncommon for a first-time helmer.

Grey hailed Chase as “one of the great storytellers of our time,” whose foray into bigscreen fare is “long overdue.”

“We always talked about getting David into the Paramount fold,” Grey said. “Three years ago (when I took over Paramount), I said I wanted to bring the greatest talents to the lot. David exemplifies that.”

There is no timeline on the project, but Grey said he expects that within a year filming will be under way.

Chase’s TV career as a writer, producer and director spans three decades and includes “The Rockford Files,” “I’ll Fly Away” and “Northern Exposure,” as well as the telepic “Off the Minnesota Strip.”

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