The Sopranos creator David Chase says that he was barely talking to the late James Gandolfini by the time they reached season 6; the final season of the show. Chase created The Sopranos in 1995 and it aired for six seasons from 1999 to 2007, winning a number of Emmy’s throughout its run. The series was the first cable network show to win a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. It became a cultural phenomenon, instantly recognized by Gandolfini’s cigar-chomping protagonist and opening theme song, “Woke Up This Morning” by Alabama 3.
Gandolfini passed away in 2013, leaving behind a long legacy of film work, but he was best known for his role as Tony Soprano. Chase worked again with Gandolfini for his film Not Fade Away in 2012, but the two did not have any other projects on the docket prior to his death. Chase has returned to the world of The Sopranos this month with the prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, which stars Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini, as Tony.
While on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Chase discussed his relationship with Gandolfini on the show, saying that by the time they got to season 6, the two were barely talking. Gandolfini had a reputation for being difficult or combative on set and there are a multitude of stories from his The Sopranos era that continue to come to light. Now, Chase has added to that, saying that he got to a point at which he “hated” the actor. Here’s his full quote:
“We were barely talking. I remember at the last party or screening or Emmy’s, it was the last time we’d all be together, and we’re sitting at a table, [Gandolfini] went by with his food and my wife said ‘Jim, come sit over here,’ and he just ignored her and sat someplace else. He started that kind of stuff, for my wife I was infuriated. I suddenly said to myself, ‘I really hate that motherf***er, I hate that guy.’ That’s what it had come to.'”
Chase would later make up with Gandolfini when they worked together on his film Not Fade Away, saying that they “got along very well” while making it. The creator even asked Gandolfini at one point if he’d ever do a The Sopranos movie and the actor nonchalantly said, “Well, I’d have to read a script.” Sadly, that would never come to be, as the actor passed away before it could ever happen. However, his legacy lives on with the prequel film, both in character and family, with his son carrying the torch of Tony Soprano. Chase said that he has “contemplated” continuing with the characters of The Many Saints of Newark, but says no one has approached him about continuing with it since they began shooting the film.
Gandolfini will forever be remembered as Tony Soprano, and the stories that pop up about him during the making of the show The Sopranos continue to be revealing, shocking and compelling. Ultimately, the actor seemed to embody the character in many ways. The world of The Sopranos feels ripe for exploration now that the tracks have been laid with The Many Saints of Newark and, given the interest and reception to the film, it would be a shame if the story didn’t continue from there. Michael Gandolfini has said that he’d return to the role of Tony Soprano, but would only be interested in playing the character as it naturally led into the show. Hopefully, the folks at HBO see the potential to explore The Sopranos in another era, as Chase has lit the fuse on something that could reinvigorate the network just as it did with the original run of the show.