It takes a lot to get a movie made in Hollywood. A good script helps, so does a bit of luck… and maybe some eye of newt?
In a new documentary, actor and writer Michael Imperioli reveals that he enlisted a witch to help get Summer of Sam made while he was living at New York's Chelsea Hotel in the '90s. Whether it was his writing or the supernatural reinforcements (or both), the project found its way to the big screen, eventually being directed and co-written by Spike Lee.
"I had just begun writing Summer of Sam with Victor Colicchio. We wrote that script together," Imperioli says in a clip from the upcoming doc Ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel (and Other Rock & Roll Stories) shared by Variety. "I really wanted to get it made. So, I met somebody who was living here who was a witch, who said she could help me get it made, but it wasn't going to happen the way I thought it would. I was very ambitious at the time and wanted to get that made, so [I] resorted to tapping into otherworldly means to get it through the studio system."
Amy Sussman/Getty Images Michael Imperioli
The Sopranos and White Lotus actor doesn't go further into what kind of ritual was performed or whether he believes the witch helped Summer of Sam get made (it was released in 1999). But as the clip attests, Ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel tells stories of the alleged spirits and very real artists who have haunted the iconic hotel's halls.
Elsewhere in the documentary, Imperioli talks about moving into the Chelsea Hotel at 29 after he'd appeared in I Shot Andy Warhol, which has its own connections to the hotel. "The Chelsea's a very mythical place, you know, especially if you're an artist in New York. It looms very large," he says. "A few years before I did a film called I Shot Andy Warhol and I played Ondine, who was the star of Chelsea Girls."
Ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel, directed by Danny Garcia (Nightclubbing), will premiere with a pair of screenings this month at Joe's Pub in New York, with other screenings in the U.S. and Germany scheduled for the early fall.
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.