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Michael Imperioli Met With a Witch to Get ‘Summer of Sam’ Made: I Used ‘Otherwordly Means to Get It Through the Studio System’

Michael Imperioli says he took supernatural steps to help him materialize his 1999 movie “Summer of Sam.”

The “Sopranos” and “White Lotus” actor was living at the Chelsea Hotel at the time and, in a new documentary about the notoriously haunted locale, recalls meeting with a witch in order to push the crime thriller “through the studio system” in Hollywood.

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“I had just begun writing ‘Summer of Sam’ with Victor Colicchio — we wrote that script together,” Imperioli says in an exclusive clip from “Ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel.” “I really wanted to get it made. So I met somebody who was living here who was a witch, who said she could help me get it made, but it wasn’t going to happen the way I thought it would. I was very ambitious at the time and wanted to get that made, so [I] resorted to tapping into otherworldly means to get it through the studio system.”

Imperioli did not elaborate on exactly what types of spells or rituals he may have cast upon the film, but “Summer of Sam” went on to be directed and co-written by Spike Lee and released by Buena Vista Pictures. Imperioli and Lee also played small roles in the movie.

Elsewhere in “Ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel (and Other Rock & Roll Stories),” Imperioli remembers moving into the Chelsea Hotel at age 29. “The Chelsea is a very mythical place,” he says. “Especially if you’re an artist in New York, it looms very large, and the idea of living here seemed not really possible.”

In another scene from the film, Imperioli tells a personal ghost story from the Chelsea Hotel.

“I saw a ghost here,” he says. “Some people may think that I’m insane and it’s bullshit or whatever. But I’m not the only person who has seen this apparition of a woman, apparently from the late 19th century, whose soon-to-be husband died on the Titanic. She came from upstate or something and was waiting for him here, and when she found out what happened to him, she killed herself.”

The documentary, directed by Danny Garcia (“Nightclubbing,” “Sad Vacation”), tells the story of New York’s iconic Chelsea Hotel, and the eccentric artists and spirits that have inhabited it, including Andy Warhol, Patti Smith and Nico. The film explores the hotel’s connection to cultural icons including Dylan Thomas, Jack Kerouac, Arthur Miller and Mark Twain, and features interviews with Colicchio, Sherill Tippins, Ned Van Zandt, Harley Flanagan, Richard Barone and more.

“Ghosts of the Chelsea Hotel” premieres in New York City at a pair of screenings at Joe’s Pub on Sept. 5 and 11. Screenings are also scheduled for across the U.S. and in Germany throughout September and October.

Watch an exclusive clip from the documentary below.

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