The Sopranos is the TV show that began the cinematic age of TV that audiences are living through today. Between the enigmatic story-telling, the in-depth characters, and the sprawling drama, The Sopranos elevated the medium and is why it now has the respect that it deserves.
The show itself is almost like an 80-hour movie, and it was perfectly cast, but if the material was adapted into a big-budget Hollywood movie today, the line-up of actors would look totally different. And as beloved as the original cast is, a string of bankable and more-than-qualified A-listers could give the originals a run for their money.
Adriana – Margot Robbie
Though Adriana (Drea de Matteo) should have realized Chris was bad news a long time ago, she stuck around by his side until she was finally picked off. She wasn’t the usual mob wife, as she always supported Chris in pursuing careers outside the family business.
Though Margot Robbie is seemingly the go-to blonde bombshell for these types of roles, there’s a reason why. She is great at showing the tortured side of characters stuck in toxic relationships, while still being supportive. And on top of that, she’s incredible at nailing accents, whether it’s in The Wolf of Wall Street or Suicide Squad, so she’d surely pin down the New Jersey accent perfectly.
Junior – Joe Pesci
Joe Pesci is a shoe-in for Junior (Dominic Chianese). Pesci just recently played a similar role in The Irishman, a calm businessman who takes thinks logically before he puts hits on people. However, Junior also has a nasty side, and any gangster fanatic knows Pesci’s characters tend to have a nasty streak too.
Though he was fairly restrained in The Irishman, Pesci is mostly known for his performances as angry and frantic gangsters, so a mix of the two character types would capture Junior perfectly. And though it’d be hard to get the actor to sign on to the project, as it even took his old pal Martin Scorsese 50 attempts to get him to come out of retirement for The Irishman, there’s nobody better to play the role.
Artie – Giancarlo Esposito
Though Giancarlo Esposito hasn’t quite reached the superstardom that the other actors have yet, it’s about time, as his role as the sinister Gustavo Fring in Breaking Bad won him an Emmy. And he has been cast in some of the biggest television projects of all time since then, including The Mandalorian.
Artie (John Ventimiglia) isn’t the typical role audiences would expect to see Esposito in, as the character is defenseless, disheveled, and hopelessly tied to gangsters like Tony. But as he has been typecast as a villain ever since Breaking Bad, it isn’t exactly fair, as Esposito has a wider range than most movie stars and it’d be great to see the actor go against type in one of the most realistic storylines in The Sopranos.
Paulie – John Turturro
As dark and depressing as The Sopranos can often get, whether it’s the sheer amount of unnecessary murder or the heavy weight of Tony’s therapy sessions, it’s Paulie who always provides the audience with the much-needed comic relief. Paulie (Tony Sirico) is responsible for some of the funniest episodes, but at the same time, he is also involved in a lot of crime and has some dramatic story arcs himself, especially with his mother in season six.
There are few other actors who have been equally praised for their dramatic acting skills and their comedy chops. After watching John Turturro in The Big Lebowski, viewers could easily believe he’s a comedian, but they could just as easily believe he’s a multi-award winning actor after watching Barton Fink. Given his unsettled and jumpy method of acting, he would perfectly capture what Paulie’s all about.
Meadow – Zendaya
In the television series, Meadow’s (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) age is 15 in the first season and 21 by the final season, and Zendaya is just about able to play any of these ages. She looks as young as 15 in the Spider-Man movies, and as old as 21 in the HBO drama Euphoria.
Not only that, but she looks the part, and though she has been playing the teenage girl character for years at this point, Meadow is different. As Meadow is a troubled kid who has to live with knowing what her father does for a living, it’s unlike any role Zendaya has ever had.
Silvio – Bobby Cannavale
For a murderous gangster, Silvio (Steven van Zandt) is actually quite the diplomat. He sits on the fence a lot, but being Tony’s second-in-command, he actually resolves a lot of disputes too, arguably better than Tony himself. But more than anything, Silvio is known for his flare.
Bobby Cannavale has become known in Hollywood for his Italian flare. It’s why he was cast in Blue Jasmine and The Irishman, and he already looks like a young Silvio. Silvio is also great when thrown into scenes with Paulie, and they bounce off each other brilliantly, so it’d be great to see what Cannavale could do side by side with Turturro.
Carmela – Rashida Jones
Though Rashida Jones is best known for her comedy roles in TV shows like Parks and Recreation and The Office, and Carmela (Eddie Falco) is possibly the most overdramatic character on the show, the actor and character don’t exactly match on paper.
But Jones has spots of dramatic acting throughout her career, whether it’s in David Fincher’s The Social Network or the recent Bill Murray Dramedy On The Rocks. And if the way she pronounces her character’s last name in The Office is anything to go by, she has a good enough Italian accent.
Chris – Taron Egerton
Taron Egerton may not be remotely Italian, and he hasn’t ever played an American on the big-screen either, except for in the box office bomb Billionaire Boys Club. But given how he can go from a hard south Londoner in Kingsman: The Secret Service to Elton John in Rocketman, the actor can seemingly embody almost any character.
Chris (Michael Imperioli) is Tony’s protege who goes from an immature pawn to an important asset of Tony’s crew and Egerton could depict this role perfectly, it’s just a case of getting the accent down.
Dr. Melfi – Maya Rudolph
Though Lorraine Bracco was originally offered the role of Carmela, it’s hard to imagine anybody else in the role of Dr. Melfi, Tony’s therapist, as she completely made the role her own. Just like Rashida Jones, Maya Rudolph is way more well versed in comedy acting, as she’s a Saturday Night Live regular, and her most well-known movie is probably Bridesmaids.
However, Rudolph looks the part, and she can give incredible dramatic performances when she wants to too, it just seems that she rarely gets the chance.
Tony – David Harbour
There were many actors considered to play Tony, and all of them were real Italian actors. However, even though David Harbour isn’t Italian, it doesn’t mean he couldn’t play Tony Soprano incredibly well, and (fun fact) he even studied Italian at Dartmouth College.
It’s hard to follow up James Gandolfini’s amazing performance as one of the most despicable TV characters in history, but Harbour has every asset to make it great on the big screen. Harbour stands tall and has the build for such an intimidating character, and it’s about time he had a lead role in a movie that isn’t Hellboy.