- Between 1999 and 2007, The Sopranos took centerstage as one of the most watched television shows globally
- A large part of the series’ success was due to its lead actor James Gandolfini, who became synonymous with his character Tony Soprano
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler reminisced about how Gandolfini unconsciously used a unique method to offer advice and guide her through the filming
Between 1999 and 2007, The Sopranos took centerstage as one of the most watched television shows globally. A large part of the series’ success was due to its lead actor James Gandolfini, who became synonymous with his character Tony Soprano. The late Golden Globe winner’s portrayal of a mafia boss, became one of the most iconic performances by an actor on television.
Apart from his power-packed turn, Gandolfini also endeared himself to his co-stars on and off-screen. Jamie-Lynn Sigler, who played Tony Soprano’s daughter Meadow in the show, reminisced about how Gandolfini unconsciously used a unique method to offer advice and guide her through the filming.
James Gandolfini’s Self-Critical Nature Encouraged Jamie-Lynn Sigler
Over 6 seasons between the late 90s and the early 2000s, James Gandolfini epitomized every nuance of his famous character Tony Soprano to perfection in the blockbuster television series, The Sopranos. Along with an impressive ensemble cast, Gandolfini ensured that the show bagged top honors in all the awards seasons.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler who played a pivotal role as his daughter, spoke of how Gandolfini was a guiding force in her successful journey with The Sopranos. Sigler revealed her co-star’s unique form of motivation that worked wonders for her on set. In an interview with Variety, she revealed how the Enough Said actor’s was extremely critical of himself and his performance, which worked as a catalyst for Sigler to push herself more.
“He would question himself. There would be moments where he’d be like, ‘I f**king suck,’ but I appreciated that because I’ve had those thoughts but I didn’t say them out loud because I don’t want anybody to know that I think I suck. He was confident enough to say it out.”
Sigler went on to add that Gandolfini was an exceptional human being who was deeply invested in everyone’s success and achievements.
How James Gandolfini Made Tony Soprano A Ruthless Protagonist
James Gandolfini’s portrayal of mob boss Tony Soprano in the hit series The Sopranos, is widely considered one of the greatest performances by any lead actor in a television show. Through his nuanced character sketch of a man who has to balance family life with his mafia connections, Gandolfini’s memorable turn is still being talked about today.
Interestingly, while the Zero Dark Thirty actor had many vulnerable moments on screen especially during the scenes in which he undergoes therapy, the ruthless and violent side of his character was completely created by Gandolfini himself. Creator David Chase in an interview with Written By Magazine (via Mental Floss), spoke of his lead actor’s vision for Tony Soprano, and how he brought it to light by suddenly improvising a scene.
“Jim showed me early on how much of a prick that guy would have to be. The first day we shot, there was a scene where Christopher said he was going to sell his story to Hollywood. In the script, it said something like, ‘Tony slaps him.’ But when we shot it, all of a sudden Jim was out of his seat. He picked Michael Imperioli up by the neck, by the collar, had him almost off the ground and said, ‘What?! Are you crazy?’“
Watching this segment unfold in front of him, made Chase realize that Gandolfini had touched upon a contrasting aspect of his character that would balance out his contemplative avatar. This masterstroke ultimately made Tony Soprano a cult character.