Zap2it: Now that “Boardwalk Empire” is ending after this season, will it be difficult for you to put your character, Atlantic City politician/crime boss Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, down?
Steve Buscemi: No, I think I’ll be OK to move on. To play a character for this long presents its own challenges. I’ve had a great time and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to play this amazing character and then to really explore — like I had the time to really explore a lot of facets of his psyche and personality. But I think as sad as I am that it’s ending, I’m also excited to be moving on as well.
Zap2it: You were a New York City firefighter in the early 1980s, and helped dig through the rubble to search for missing firefighters after 9/11. What was that like?
Steve Buscemi: It’s very hard to describe because it’s not like anything that any of us had seen before. It was just unrecognizable. It was really hard to get your bearings, like where we actually were, where the buildings were. It was just this big, smoking — because it was still on fire for, like, weeks — huge, huge landscape of rubble.
Zap2it: Did you know anyone who perished there?
Steve Buscemi: I, myself, knew probably like five or six, and I had been off the job since the mid-’80s. So yeah, there were a number of firefighters who I personally knew, yeah, who I hadn’t seen in a long time. So for the guys who were lost, their brothers who they worked with everyday or just knew from the job, it was really, really hard.
“Boardwalk Empire” airs at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.