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Lilyhammer: A Gangster's Rap

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On a balmy New York evening with snow a distant memory, the corners of the Crosby Hotel were fitted with white stuff, the waiters sported big ski lodge sweaters and snow boots, and the décor, usually warm, was even cozier. The occasion was a screening of one episode of Lilyhammer, the first of five original series planned for Netflix. Harvey Weinstein and Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos hosted the evening, with the help of uber party planner Peggy Siegal. Starring E Street Band guitarist and The Sopranos veteran Steven Van Zandt, Lilyhammer begs the question, where can mob fugitives go to hide? Even ex-Sopranos? Well, how about Lilyhammer, the remote town in Norway that famously hosted the Olympics in 1984? It looked pristine, beautiful, Frankie (The Fixer) Tagliano explains even as he brings his ways of getting things done (i.e. bribes, blackmail) to cut through the country's bureaucracy. Talk about a clash of cultures!

And yet, this is not "lost in translation." The laughs, loud and deep, come from the realization, whatever the situation like a wolf threatening livestock, Frankie's strategies get the job done. Wearing his Soprano-esque pompadour, Frankie looks like an Arab, opines one of the locals. A sheep's head wrapped in paper has him quipping, I thought I'd have to give Johnny Fontaine a singing part in a movie.

Joining the after party, his head wrapped in its signature rag, Van Zandt greeted Tony Bennett, Bruce Springsteen, Georgina Chapman, David Chase, Paul Haggis, Gina Gershon, Celia Weston, Bob Balaban, Carol Alt, and The Soprano's co-stars, Lorraine Bracco, Steve Schirripa, Tony Sirico, Vincent Pastore. Michael Shannon, seated outside on a bench, said they were getting ready to shoot the third season of Boardwalk Empire. Of his corrupt character, he says, he is still a mess. The "mob" heavy room also included Suzanne Corso, the author of Brooklyn Story, a novel about, what else? Growing up where gangsters are not quite so funny.

At episode's end, it looks like Frankie's running things in Lilyhammer, as he calls it. Congratulations, says a reporter, to wit he replies of the episodes to come, "You may think you know what will happen but the show's full of surprises."

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.