Michael Pitt: Going out with a bang on ‘Boardwalk Empire’
Audiences were shocked last season when "Boardwalk Empire" killed off young bootlegger Jimmy Darmody, but his portrayer Michael Pitt wasn't. "It was something we talked about as early as the first season," says Pitt. "I just said to them, if he's gonna go, let's let him go out with a bang."
That he did. During the second season of HBO's Prohibition-era drama, Jimmy crossed his former mentor Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) and answered for his disloyalty with a bullet to the head. Until then, Nucky had been a father figure to Jimmy.
Creating that dynamic with his co-star was simple, according to Pitt, because he and Buscemi had previously starred together in the 2006 film "Delirious." "What was so amazing when I found it it was going to be Steve [cast as Nucky] and he found out it was going to be me [cast as Jimmy] is that from right when we started shooting the first season we had already developed a working relationship, so it was really easy and organic."
Jimmy's death wasn't the only major surprise of "Boardwalk's" second season: viewers also learned of a sexual encounter between Jimmy and his mother (Gretchen Mol). "That was just something that [creator Terence Winter] was always talking about. He was always really fascinated with that, and he just ran with it … We had a lot of talks about the fate of the character before, so I wasn't as surprised as everyone else."
"Boardwalk Empire" won eight Emmys last year as well as two consecutive SAG Awards for Best TV Drama Ensemble. "It's a little strange for me," he says of the awards circuit. "I've done a lot of festival circuits from a lot of the films that I've done … but the award ceremonies and all the events, they're a little strange, but they're fun."
He remembers about the SAG Awards, "We won the award, and so then they bring you back into this room and they give you this really heavy award. And I was a little tense, so I went out the back to have a cigarette, and the bouncer wouldn't let me back in. And I'm holding the award up like, 'Look, I just won this. I think I'm allowed back in.'"