Scorsese Wins Directorial Emmy for “Empire”

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 11:12 am
Martin Scorsese at the Emmy Awards

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese has won an Emmy for directing the series premiere of Boardwalk Empire, the primetime HBO drama based on Nelson Johnson’s Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City.

In addition to directing the pilot, Scorsese is also an executive producer on the series. The pilot episode aired on September 19, 2010 and led to HBO’s almost immediate decision to pick up the series for a second season.

In an early interview about the series, Scorsese was was quoted:

To me, it’s as if we’re talking now about the 1980s or late 1970s. That was like yesterday to me. The 20s in my head were always very present because my parents always referred to it: the music, the people, the clothes. I know all the songs from that period; I know all the films. We knew it all. And so it was a natural transition. But you know I really was fascinated with the idea of working with Terry Winter and these guys, and taking these characters over 13 hours, developing them, developing their story, the complications of corruption in American politics.

Anthony Venutolo of The Star-Ledger covered the award for

Emmy Awards 2011: Martin Scorsese wins Directing for a Drama Series

Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese has won Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for the pilot of “Boardwalk Empire.”

The period HBO drama was adapted from Nelson Johnson’s best-selling non-fiction book “Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City.” It centered on real-life criminal kingpin Enoch “Nucky” Johnson. On the show, the central character’s name was changed to Enoch “Nucky” Thompson (Steve Buscemi). He portrays the Atlantic County Treasurer who rose to prominence during the Prohibition period of the ’20s and ’30s in Atlantic City.

The show is run by Emmy Award-winning screenwriter Terence Winter of “The Sopranos.” Other producers include Scorsese, Mark Wahlberg and frequent episode director Tim Van Patten.

Read the full story at

Boardwalk Empire Scores 18 Emmy Nominations.

Filed under: Boardwalk Buzz,Top Stories — Rob Colding @ 10:26 am

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Thursday announced the nominees for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards. Boardwalk Empire received 18 nominations. The series is nominated for Best Drama, while Steve Buscemi received a nomination for Best Actor, drama, and Kelly McDonald received the nomination for Best Supporting Actress, drama.

via USA Today News, 2011 Primetime Emmy Award Nominees.

Boardwalk Empire and The Northside Take Gold

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 9:52 am

Plexus Publishing and Author Nelson Johnson Are Recipients of Two Coveted Book Awards Recognizing the Best in Independent Publishing

Boardwalk Empire and its Sequel, The Northside, Take Gold in the 2011 Independent Publisher [IPPY] Book Awards Competition

2011 IPPY Awards

May 16, 2011, Medford, NJ—Plexus Publishing, Inc., a small New Jersey regional publisher, and author Nelson Johnson have been named double gold winners in the Independent Publisher [IPPY] Book Awards. The publisher/author team won for both the 2010 tie-in edition of the New York Times bestseller that inspired HBO’s blockbuster series and for The Northside: African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City.

Boardwalk Empire won gold in the “Mid-Atlantic, Best Regional Non-Fiction” category while The Northside took national gold in the “Multicultural Non-Fiction Adult” category.

“Winning gold medals for two books in different categories is very rare for any one author/publisher team,” said Jim Barnes, IPPY Awards Director. “The nomination process for the IPPYs is very rigorous—Plexus Publishing and Nelson Johnson impressed two sets of judges—they should be very proud of this wonderful achievement.”

John B. Bryans, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Book Publishing Division at Plexus, said, “We are thrilled to receive gold honors for these two great books by Nelson Johnson, and nothing could make me happier than the win for The Northside. It’s a remarkable story of triumph over adversity and the national gold IPPY is sure to help bring it the wide readership it deserves. Congratulations to Nelson Johnson and Plexus CEO Tom Hogan, and kudos to our amazing team of editors and designers who prove time after time what a small independent publisher is capable of.”

Nelson Johnson said, “I’m thrilled to have my work recognized by the publishers. It’s a bit overwhelming. My research and writing on Atlantic City has been an adventure. I’m glad Plexus and I are together for the excitement.”

About the IPPY Awards

For 15 years the Independent Publisher Book Awards have been conducted annually to honor the year’s best independently published titles. The IPPY Awards recognize those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing. Independent spirit and expertise comes from publishers of all sizes and budgets, and books are judged with that in mind. All independent, university, small press, and self-publishers who produce books intended for the North American market are eligible to enter. For more information visit Independent Publisher online.

About the 2011 IPPY-Winning Books, Author, and Publisher

Boardwalk Empire is the true story that inspired the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Director’s Guild award-winning HBO series of the same name. In the book, Nelson Johnson covers Atlantic City from its birth as a quiet seaside health resort, through the notorious backroom politics and power struggles, to the city’s rebirth as an international entertainment and gambling mecca where anything goes. For more information visit

The Northside, Johnson’s sequel to Boardwalk Empire, tells the story of Atlantic City’s black community, from the arrival of the first African Americans to Absecon Island in the early 19th century through the glory days of the “World’s Playground.” Drawing on dozens of interviews and painstaking archival research, Johnson reveals long-forgotten details about the people on whose backs the gambling mecca was built, and he offers eye-opening profiles of Northside leaders past and present. For more information visit

Author Nelson Johnson, whose family’s presence in Atlantic County predates the founding of Atlantic City, is a lifelong resident of Hammonton, New Jersey. He practiced law for 30 years and was active in Atlantic City and County politics through much of that period.

Plexus Publishing, Inc., incorporated in 1977, is an independent, family-owned publisher located in historic Medford, in southern New Jersey. Plexus’s regional publishing program encompasses diverse Jersey-centric books in genres that include history, nature and the environment, travel/tourism, and fiction. For more information visit

Nelson Johnson Featured on

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 11:44 am

From: Shoring up the Boardwalk Empire, a black History Month feature.

When Judge Nelson Johnson wrote Boardwalk Empire, his history of corrupt Atlantic City, he certainly had no idea the Prohibition-era chapters would inspire the celebrated HBO series.

But he did know this: The chapter on the African American involvement in the creation of the resort – Chapter 3, titled “A Plantation by the Sea” – was destined to be the basis for another book.

Railroad Workers

“It became apparent if you remove the black experience from Atlantic City’s history, then the town never comes to be,” Johnson said in a phone interview from his chambers in the Atlantic County Civil Courthouse in Atlantic City.


“When you have two generations where 95 percent of the hotel workforce was African American, then how does this town ever develop as a regional, national resort unless you have the black experience?

“Intellectually this really bothered me,” he said. “I knew a single chapter wasn’t going to do it.”

The resulting book, The Northside: African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City (Plexus Publishing, $24.95), appeared late last year and has sold about 2,500 copies. It is now in its second printing. Boardwalk Empire, published in 2002, has sold close to 100,000 copies, said Plexus publisher John Bryans.

As to Boardwalk Empire, Johnson said he was most gratified not by the HBO series, but by the fact that three colleges – Rutgers, Stockton, and Princeton – are using the book in urban history classes.

“I’m thrilled that these people who really helped me are still alive,” said Johnson, who plans no book tour but says he will never turn down a church, library, or school.

“When you have first-person accounts from people who experienced something, it’s like a piece of gold thread, you can tie together the story.”

Read the rest of By Amy S. Rosenberg’s Shoring up the Boardwalk Empire on website.

via Plexus Publishing, Inc. News.

Why Buscemi and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Beat the Rest

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 3:31 pm
Steve Buscemi collecting his SAG award

Buscemi collecting his SAG award

Thanks, said Steve Buscemi collecting his SAG award Sunday for Boardwalk Empire, “just for letting me be me.” The show won for best TV drama ensemble. Here’s what the wins signify.

Buscemi, the most reflexive self-deprecator this side of Paul Giamatti, also razzed himself for blowing his 1987 audition for Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables with a line reading that sounded like his mouth was in a paint shaker crooning “Abba Dabba Honeymoon.” That may have been for the best. Young tremuluous Buscemi mightn’t have been sturdy and distinctive amid the epic collision of De Niro and Mamet. It was better he snuck into fame by the side door, on the sly, with a lot of help from the ultimate backdoor trapdoor slyboots, the Coens. By now you could say of Buscemi what Delroy Lindo says of heistmeister Gene Hackman in Mamet’s Heist: “My mother—— is so cool when he goes to sleep, sheep count him.”

In an overexposed genre, you’ve never seen anything like Buscemi — not even in his SAG ensemble-nom’d The Sopranos — and you’ve never seen this milieu before.

“This time in history hasn’t been explored at all. Not really on TV since The Untouchables in 1960,”

Boardwalk Empire’s creator/exec producer Terence Winter.

via SAG Awards 2011: Why Steve Buscemi and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Beat ‘Mad Men’ – The Race.

Graham & Macdonald Coming Home to the UK Next Month

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 3:18 pm

Stephen Graham

He’s carved a niche for himself as a rough-round-the edges character actor, springboarding from the cobbles of Coronation Street to Guy Richie’s Snatch. Now Stephen Graham, 37, is poised for international stardom after turning in a series-stealing role in Martin Scorsese’s extraordinary new venture. The Scouse star, who started out as Lee Sankey in Coronation Street in 1999 and also had a role in The Lakes, plays gangster Al Capone in mega bucks television series Boardwalk Empire.

Set in prohibition-era Atlantic City, the show was an instant hit in the States where a second series was commissioned straight after the pilot.

It is believed to be the most expensive television show ever made at a rumoured cost of up to £33million for the first episode alone and premieres in Britain on Tuesday.

Located in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Empire stars character actor Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs, Fargo) as a character moving in the shadows between good and evil.

But, first, you’ll be impressed by the production values.

On Sunday night Buscemi picked up the Golden Globe for best actor in a TV drama while Boardwalk Empire, based on a book by Nelson Johnson, won best series.

Kelly Macdonald

Graham is not the only Brit on the show either – Trainspotting star Kelly McDonald, 34, is getting another crack at worldwide fame with her main character of Margaret Schroeder. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television, plays an Irish widow who becomes Nucky’s mistress. Talking to the Guardian, Macdonald said of her involvement: ‘There wasn’t much weighing up. it was a case of ‘Martin Scorsese’s directing the pilot, oh f***, I’d love to do it.’

Plaudits have been flowing thick and fast, with the American Film Institute calling Boardwalk Empire one of the ‘best television programs of the year’, New York Daily News saying ‘it doesn’t get much better’ and the Chicago Sun Times dubbing it ‘an event not to be missed’.

‘Extravagantly produced, shockingly violent and as cold and hard as ice, Boardwalk Empire brings us back to the world’s former playground at the start of Prohibition – and brings HBO back to the forefront of the TV-series race.’

— USA Today

Boardwalk Empire premieres in the UK on Tuesday February 1 at 9pm on the new Sky Atlantic HD channel.

Read more and view excellent photos at Boardwalk Empire and the British actors Stephen Graham and Kelly Macdonald who are set to become global stars on the Mail Online website..

Boardwalk Empire Wins Big at the Golden Globes

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 3:24 pm

Fox’s high school musical “Glee” is our best comedy series and HBO’s prohibition-era Atlantic City-set “Boardwalk Empire” our best drama series, according to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which doles out the Globes.

Boardwalk Empire

“Glee” copped the most Globes of any single TV show – three – also including best supporting actor nods to Chris Colfer and Jane Lynch.

“Boardwalk Empire’s” kingpin Steve Buscemi got named best drama actor, while Katey Sagal was crowned best dramatic actress for her work on FX’s biker series “Sons of Anarchy.”

Besides “Boardwalk,” HBO also clocked two more Globes for its big-budget longform projects: Claire Danes, for her starring role in “Temple Grandin,” and Al Pacino, for playing Jack Kevorkian in “You Don’t Know Jack.”
via Moraes on TV – ‘Glee’ and ‘Boardwalk Empire’ soar while Ricky Gervais crashes at Golden Globes.

Boardwalk Empire’s Season Finale via The Daily Beast

Filed under: Top Stories — Boardwalk Empire @ 11:56 am

Allen Barra at The Daily Beast has written a great article delving into the special role that both Atlantic City and Nucky Johnson played in birth of organized crime and the way the Volstead Act was – and was not – enforced in the 1920s.

For total evocation of period and mood-not merely the automobiles and fashions, but the sepia-toned lighting of the interiors, the ornate furnishings, and especially the music (Eddie Cantor, Bessie Smith, Caruso)-the series has no rival in television history. Atlantic City (actually Greenpoint, Brooklyn, across the East River from Manhattan) looks like a beautiful place for organized crime to be born.

Some critics have complained that Boardwalk Empire is too much based on fact, while other say it is too much based on fiction. In the New York Times, for instance, Alessandra Stanley wrote that because “the series is based on a history book, Nelson Johnson’s Boardwalk Empire” the show’s writers “lack the confidence to improvise.” If Stanley had read Johnson’s “history book,” she would have found that it is mostly a social account of Atlantic City from its inception as a blue-collar vacation spot in the late nineteenth century to the coming of Donald Trump.

Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson

Why Atlantic City and not New York or Chicago? As Nelson Johnson writes, “When it came to illegal booze, there was probably no place in the country as wide open as Nucky’s town. It was almost as if word of the Volstead Act never reached Atlantic City.” Surrounded by water, pine forests, and swamp and accessed only a few roads easily monitored by a corrupt police department, Atlantic City was a natural magnet for crime in the Prohibition era.

During Prohibition, Nucky Johnson, the real person on whom Buscemi’s character is based, was, according to the Johnson book, “both a power broker in the Republican Party and a force in organized crime, he rubbed elbows with presidents and Mafia thugs. But to Atlantic City’s residents, Nucky was hardly a thug. He was their hero, epitomizing the qualities that made his town successful.” If Arnold Rothstein was the grandfather of organized crime, Nucky was its midwife.

Read the complete story at Boardwalk Empire’s Season Finale at The Daily Beast.