Could you picture James Gandolfini as the boss of The Office? Waaaay different working environment, huh?
The late actor’s Sopranos co-stars Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa revealed the news during the latest episode of their podcast Talking Sopranos, while joined by Ricky Gervais....Schirripa added: “I think before James Spader and after [Steve] Carell, they offered Jim, I want to say $4 million dollars to play him for the season and HBO paid him $3 million not to do it.”
It really sounded like this was a move by HBO to preserve the legacy of The Sopranos. While James may have wanted to show his range as an actor, protecting the equity of Tony Soprano must have been worth the three million dollar price tag. Ricky Gervais seems to agree when he adds, "Well that was a good decision."
Speaking of legacy, here's the trailer for The Many Saints of Newark, which is a Sopranos origin story starting James' son, Michael. It'll hit HBO Max in October.
More in the interview below. Also, talk to me more about this whole "getting paid to not do something," thing. I'm intrigued.