I remember back in the heyday of The Sopranos, before the Sepinwalls and Seitzes of the world did their brilliant recaps, that Slate used to host a raucous weekly discussion of that week’s episodes. In Season 5 in 2004, the discussion consisted of journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, mob expert Jerry Capeci and others. When they got to talking about the “gay Vito” storyline that year, Capeci shared this:
Colombo capo Greg Scarpa—who, by the way, also served as a top-echelon FBI informer for decades—acquired the HIV virus because of the same kind of obscene, ridiculous prejudice the guys at the construction site were showing last night. He needed a transfusion but didn’t want to take the chance of getting tainted blood from the hospital’s supply. (This was in the 1980s when AIDS was perceived more as a gay man’s disease and fears of contracting HIV from tainted blood was at a fever pitch.) So he insisted the hospital use untested blood donated by his men during his surgery. In a grim irony, this blood was tainted, and Scarpa died from AIDS in 1994.
Sounds like a fascinating movie, right? Now it’s going to be one- called simply, “Scarpa,” and it’s got quite the pedigree: It will star Sylvester Stallone, from a rare script by Nicolas Pileggi of “Goodfellas” and “Casino” fame. Brad Furman, who made “The Lincoln Lawyer,” is the director.
It certainly sounds like a pretty cinematic story (via Deadline):
Stallone would play one of the best-known sociopaths in organized crime — a man who murdered for the family, suspected in the murders of his own biological family, then turned FBI informant (like many of the wise guys end up doing). He was eventually indicted for multiple murders. He called himself the Killing Machine and boasted of 50 murders — as if that was something to be proud of. His own daughter said living with him was like living with a serial killer. He later became a prisoner in his own body and died in 1994 from AIDS-related complications in a Minnesota prison.
My only concern? How will Stallone tone down his legendarily muscular physique in order to play someone dying of AIDS?