Steven Van Zandt On Bruce Springsteen's 'Lillyhammer' Stint: 'He's Really Acting'

Photo: Jo Lopez
Bruce Springsteen, 'Hunter of Invisible Game'

It's always a bit uncomfortable having to tell your boss what to do.

So imagine how Steven Van Zandt felt when he directed his longtime friend and E Street Band mate Bruce Springsteen when The Boss made his acting debut -- appearing in the third season finale of the Netflix dramedy Lilyhammer. (Springsteen also briefly appeared in the 2000 film High Fidelity, but as himself rather than in an acting role).

He says he was honored that Springsteen agreed to appear in the episode, which began airing on Nov. 21 and marked Van Zandt's directorial debut, but there was "a little bit of anxiety involved."

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"I know we're friends for 50 years but still it meant a lot to me that he chose me and trusted me enough to direct him when literally everybody on earth's been wanting to do it," said Van Zandt, who stars, writes, produces and composes music for the show.

Lilyhammer is a fish out of water story about fictional New York gangster Frank "The Fixer" Tagliano (Van Zandt), who is trying to start a new life in the Norwegian city of Lillehammer.

Springsteen played Frank's older brother Giuseppe -- a small role that was key to the plot, Van Zandt said.

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"He's really acting," says Van Zandt. "It's not some cameo. He's not playing himself. It's a real thing."

Van Zandt says it all went well and Springsteen "did great" as Giuseppe.

"Was if fun? Yeah, but it's more fun when it's over," he says with a laugh. "It's fun now."

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