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Steve Buscemi talks about the secret of ‘Boardwalk Empire’

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Although Steve Buscemi took home a SAG award for best actor in a drama series Sunday night — his second in a row for the role of Nucky Thompson in the HBO show “Boardwalk Empire” — he doesn’t see himself as a leading man.

“I still feel like a character actor,” the actor said backstage, surrounded by the show’s cast, which also won for ensemble cast in a TV drama. “It’s being part of that ensemble that matters. For me the show is Atlantic City. We all live and work there, and Nucky does run things, but there are plenty of people who want that job as well.”

What makes for a good ensemble? The cast members agreed it’s the writing.

“Someone else writes the words,” said Gretchen Mol, who plays aging showgirl Gillian Darmody. “It’s always a surprise from week to week. At the end of the day, it’s really the writers in that room. I don’t know how they come up with what they do. It’s so bold and scary and I don’t know how they get away with it.”

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For his part, Michael Pitt, who played Mol’s character’s son Jimmy Darmody, was already thinking about more practical things.

“I’m hungry, and I want a cigarette,” he announced, causing an indignant cry from one of the children in the cast.

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— Jessica Gelt


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