"I thought they would hire some good-looking guy, not George Clooney but some Italian George Clooney." So said James Gandolfini on the moment in 1998 when he went to cast for the lead role in David Chase's new TV project.
Thank God they didn't. Gandolfini was something of a bit-part actor back then and Chase was not well versed in his work until casting directors Sheila Jaffe and Georgianne Walken brought him in to try out for the role.
According to Chase, Gandolfini brought a much deeper edge to the part that was not in his original vision for the part. An edge that, seven series on as viewers of the greatest show ever to grace the small screen, we take for granted because that's the only Tony we know.
Of course, the series has many great characters, brilliantly-written scenes and stand-alone episodes that themselves rank alongside great cinema. But more than anything it's a character study. An 86-episode character study of a man living at the extremes of violence, sex, friendship and self-analysis. From the brilliant opening credits through the beatings and blow-ups and breakdowns to the final episode black-out, we're with Tony all the way, warts and all.
"A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes," recalls Chase. "I remember telling him many times, 'You don't get it. You're like Mozart.'"
The Best Tony Soprano Quotes
“If you can quote the rules, then you can obey them.”
“You don’t shit where you eat. And you really don’t shit where I eat.”
“Is everyone in my life fucking bananas?”
“Log off. That cookies shit makes me nervous.”
“There's an old Italian saying: you fuck up once, you lose two teeth.”
‘When you’re married, you’ll understand the importance of fresh produce.’
“What fucking kind of human being am I, if my own mother wants me dead?”
“I'm like King Midas in reverse. Everything I touch turns to shit.”
"I wipe my ass with your feelings.”