Though most of the great cable TV series of the last few years have been full of unexpected surprises, I think Boardwalk Empire really set the “holy shit” bar when Jimmy Daromody, played by the second-billed star of the show Michael Pitt, was killed off. Shows have killed off characters before, but few have gone so far as to kill off such a prominent character, suggesting that the only character who is really safe is the show’s lead, Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi).
There have been several twists in the show since — both deaths and otherwise — and yet each continues to be shocking. But I’d wager that the latest twist involving Thompson’s butler Eddie Kessler (Anthony Laciura) in last Sunday’s episode, “Erlkönig.” Laciura spoke about the twist to Rolling Stone, so if you haven’t watched the episode yet, stop reading now, because unlike Rolling Stone, which reveals the twist in its headline, we’re not going to spoil it!
Of course, last episode ended with Kessler committing suicide after betraying some information regarding Thompson’s underworld activities to FBI agents. It came on the heels of Kessler demanding that Nucky allow him a more prominent role in his activities earlier in the season. Laciura reveals that he was not told of his character’s death when shooting on the seasons started, but began to feel it when his character’s arc started. He reveals, “I got it after Episode Two, while they were filming Episode Three. Sometimes you have that feeling, and you see this character getting stronger and stronger, and you keep thinking, ‘You know, something’s gonna happen'” I kept feeling like they were fattening the turkey for the kill, so when Terry called, he said, ‘Anthony, this is so difficult.’ I said, ‘So Eddie bites the dust’ [laughs]. I said, ‘Terry, what do you want me to say?’ Come on, what a run I’ve had! It’s the greatest show around!”
Laciura points out that he can’t be bitter about his character’s fate because the show put him on the map. He points out, “It’s given me a profile! Listen, how could I ever complain? You can’t! It’s been an absolutely spectacular run.”
He considers himself so lucky because Laciura didn’t have much of an acting career when he was cast in the show. In fact, he was a retired opera singer who only had a handful of roles. Reflecting on that, he says, “What Boardwalk Empire has done for me personally, is, I’ve said this from the beginning – this is a miracle. You get a guy who retires from opera, he’s running around directing and teaching, the next thing you know, he’s using all that he learned, without having to sing! And all of a sudden, he’s in a Martin Scorsese, HBO series! My God, let’s face it, that’s what you call a miracle. Does this happen every day? No, it does not!“
I doubt many actors are as cheerful as Laciura is about leaving a steady television gig, so it’s refreshing to see that he appreciates the opportunity he was given!