EXCLUSIVE | 'Godfather of Harlem' series creator Chris Brancato on the Bumpy vs Chin war: 'I never know who's going to win'

In Vincent 'Chin' Gigante (Vincent D'Onofrio), Bumpy (Forest Whitaker) he finds a wily, powerful and more than formidable foe to go toe-to-toe against


                            EXCLUSIVE | 'Godfather of Harlem' series creator Chris Brancato on the Bumpy vs Chin war: 'I never know who's going to win'
(Source : Getty Images)

'Godfather of Harlem' pitted Forest Whitaker's Bumpy Johnson against the Italian crime family who dominated Harlem. After serving a decade's time at Alcatraz and coming back to his home, Bumpy immediately faces the task of regaining his empire.

In Vincent "Chin" Gigante (Vincent D'Onofrio), he finds a wily, powerful and more than formidable foe to go toe-to-toe against. Over the course of the series, Chin proves to be more than just a handful as he throws enough curveballs to strikeout Bumpy. 

And according to series creator, Chris Brancato, this Bumpy-Chin battle is likely to continue. In an exclusive with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), he recounts the story of how Chin's character came into the picture. "The war will come to a head," Brancato explains and adds,  "It will likely continue."

"One of the problems, when you're casting a role like Chin for a television series, is you look around at all the fine actors who might be able to play it. And your first question is: Will this person stand up to Forest Whitaker?", Brancato points out.

"In other words, we didn't want to hire an actor who, when they face off against Forest Whitaker, you say to yourself, well, I know who's going to win. I already know he is going to beat this guy," he shares.

"And we had that with some of the actors who we met with. We were like, these are great actors, but you know what, I just, when I paired these two guys, I know Forest is gonna win," Brancato adds.

He continues: "So I happened to be in Los Angeles and I was at a piano recital for my kid. And then Onofrio's manager was there because his kid was playing in the recital and Vincent Onofrio's manager walked down the aisle to lead his kids to the piano."

"This was taking place in a church. I literally had this moment that almost seemed divinely inspired," he adds. "I saw him and his name is Sam Meadow, and I said, 'Oh my God, Onofrio is the one who should play it'."

"He was the only actor who we've been looking at who when you square him off against Forest, I just don't know who's going to win. They're both tough guys and they're both sizable," shares Brancato.

"And so I went to Sam and I said, 'I want Vince to play this'. And Vince and I had worked together on 'Law and Order: Criminal Intent, so he came aboard and what a magical actor he is. And, you know what? I never know who's going to win between those two guys."

And we don't either. In the final minutes of the episode, Bumpy having survived the murder attempt on his life realizes Chin was the man behind the attack.

He kills the hitman with Elise's (Antoinette Crowe-Legacy) help and then declares an all-out war against the Italian mob boss saying "he's coming for him". Again, it's a "who's gonna win?" situation. And like Brancato, we wouldn't know who will come out on top either.

(To lend an easy-to-read experience for our readers, the original interview has been split into multiple stories. Stay with us as we update our site with more of Brancato's valuable insights on 'Godfather of Harlem')

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