Todd A. Kessler, who was a former writer of The Sopranos, says that James Gandolfini took him out to dinner after he was fired from the show. The HBO crime drama, created by David Chase, ran for six seasons premiering in 1999, starring Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, a depressed mobster attending therapy. The series also starred Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese, Steven Van Zandt, and Tony Sirico. The Sopranos is widely regarded as one of the best television series in history, winning multiple awards for Gandolfini, Falco, and the show itself for creator David Chase.
The series continues to be discovered by newer audiences and remains one of the most talked-about shows, with many fans and the creatives from the show analyzing the series and sharing stories that were previously unknown to the public. Kessler is best known for creating and writing hit television thrillers like Damages and Bloodline, but started his career writing and producing the second and third season of The Sopranos, and was nominated for an Emmy for co-writing the season 2 finale with Chase. However, Kessler was fired by Chase midway through the show’s run.
Per Yahoo News, Kessler has revealed that Gandolfini treated him to dinner after he was fired from The Sopranos. In a new book titled “Woke Up This Morning: A Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos” detailing the show, Kessler told authors Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa that Gandolfini, whom Kessler considered a dear friend, heard about the news of his departure and took him out to dinner, while motivating him to keep going with his career. The statement can be viewed below:
“Jim called me up after he finished work that day. He knew what had happened, and he said, ‘I’m taking you out’….Jim said to me — and it was really one of those moments that will forever stick with me of Jim — he said: ‘You do not shrink. You have nothing to hang your head about. You hold your head high and know that you did great work.'”
It is always interesting to hear the behind-the-scenes stories from The Sopranos. The kind gesture and encouragement that Gandolfini showed Kessler speaks to what kind of a person he was outside of the series. Kessler can also feel better about the fact that not only was he able to continue his career after The Sopranos, but also that he was not the only writer from the show that was fired, as Chase had a reputation for replacing writers throughout the entirety of the series.
Overall, it is good that Kessler was able to share a story that was definitely a painful memory back in the day and be able to move on from it. He can also be glad that he was a vital part of making The Sopranos, a show that has had tremendous impact on fans and subsequent television series. The Sopranos has left an indelible mark on television history and many will continue to be intrigued by anything that correlates with the show, with the book written by Imperioli and Schirripa currently on sale.