On Tuesday, October 20, Anchor Bay Entertainment will release “The Making of The Mob: New York” on Blu-Ray and DVD. A celebrated series that’s equal parts docudrama, mini-series and Hollywood blockbuster and unlike anything that’s ever been seen before. Filled with amazingly brutal stories and facts, the series watches like a scripted show. In the process, viewers become heavily invested in the true to life characters and keep coming back for more.
The two-disc “The Making of The Mob: New York” package contains all 8 episodes of the series and tells the true story of the rise of the American Mafia in New York City. With a stellar cast of actors doing re-enactments, interviews with experts and crime family members as well as narration by Emmy award-winning actor Ray Liotta, the series is an unflinching look into the most successful and brutal organized crime syndicate ever.
I recently spoke with Executive Producer, Stephen David about “The Making of The Mob: New York” in this exclusive interview.
James Wood: What was your goal in presenting a story like “The Making of The Mob: New York”?
Stephen David: As a company, we do a lot of docudramas and are always looking for interesting worlds and trying to see if we can bring a new angle and tell a story in a way that hasn’t been told before. One where there’s a lot of focus on characters and not just on information. We really want you to feel the story. In many ways, it feels like you’re watching a movie but at the same time you’re constantly reminded by anecdotes and experts that this is really a true story.
JW: Was there a lot of pre-production work prior to filming?
SD: We had a team of people who did a massive amount of research and looked at hundreds of books. We put all of the history on index cards and filled up every inch of every wall in the conference room by timeline. Then we spent about a month looking at the cards and finding a storyline. The further along we got, the more research we had to do. The hope is that as you watch the story unfold it makes you want to go and do some research on your own.
JW: In your opinion, what makes organized crime and The Mob so popular?
SD: It’s fairly dark but I think it’s basically all our secret fantasy to have a bunch of money, not go to a regular job and just basically do whatever we want. And or course if someone pisses you off, you can just knock them off! [laughs].
JW: What was the biggest thing you discovered while working on this project?
SD: What shocked me the most was how these guys were able to basically build a Fortune 500 company that was illegal. You think about how hard it is to build an organization like that and they did it from scratch. They were as big as Exxon but all of it was illegal. Through all of the violence and intrigue it was still multi-billion dollar organization.
JW: What can you tell me about the next installment – “The Making of The Mob: Chicago”?
SD: That one will have a lot of focus on Al Capone, who’s another interesting character. What I’m finding most interesting is that unlike Lucky Luciano who was born ruthless; Al Capone is basically like Walter White [from the AMC series, “Breaking Bad”]. He was actually a runner and bartender for The Mob and left that life and became an accountant. His rise was because he was so good at numbers. You see it little by little until he becomes the Al Capone we all know. It’s an interesting character arc and a completely different story.
JW: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?
SD: There are a few other historical hybrids I’m working on. One is for AMC that we’re in the edit on about The West. It’s the real story of The West just after the Civil War through about 1890. What’s interesting is that every famous name you know from The West and everything they did happened simultaneously within a twenty-five year period and had a huge effect in the forming of our country. It really gives you an idea as to what the American spirit is and why we have it.
JW: Is there a message you’d like viewers to take away from watching “The Making of The Mob: New York”?
SD: That there are all different ways to be a genius. What I like about these stories is that it shows America as the land of opportunity. But it also creates this atmosphere where you really can be anything you want. I never go into these things saying someone was right or wrong for what they did. I always look at it more from a passive point of view. Was what this person did right or wrong? I don’t know. But they did something genius and became a legend.
“The Making of The Mob: New York” is available on Blu-Ray and DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment on Tuesday, October 20.