Drea de Matteo has starred in some of the most successful shows of recent times, including Desperate Housewives, Sons Of Anarchy and, er, Joey.
But she will always be remembered in our hearts as Adriana La Cerva, the big-haired, dog-loving, New Jersey fiance of Christopher Moltisanti on The Sopranos – a role that bagged her an Emmy and a place in history as part of the greatest show of all time.
This week the 40-year-old joined Reddit for an AMA session, and told some interesting stories about her time on the show (warning: spoilers ahead), working with David Chase and why James Gandolfini was the kindest bloke in the business. Here are the highlights.
1 | Steven Van Zandt (Silvio) took Adriana's death hard
“By the time we got to shooting that scene, all of us had known already that my character was dying – Van Zandt was actually the most pissed off about it, he didn't want to do it, he just didn't want to do it. And I had to talk him into how awesome it was gonna be and how important it was, he didn't want to pull me out of that car, he didn't want to call me a c-word, he didn't want to shoot me in the head, but David made a specific point not to show my character actually getting the bullet to her head. I'm not sure if that was for cliffhangers reasons, but he said it was from respect for the character.|"
2 | David Chase was paranoid about plot leaks
"Confidentiality was KING on the show, I mean, they were CRAZY over not letting any leaks get out so we shot it 2 ways – and I'm not sure with David Chase's mind if it was a matter – I heard a couple of different things. One was he wasn't positive about my demise, because we shot it and they used some of this footage, where I'm actually driving away, but you can tell in that scene that I'm daydreaming about driving away - we shot it that way as an alt, but the word on set was that we were shooting it that way to throw the crew off, and nobody knew the truth, myself included. He was so secretive and protective of his story lines that he would go as far as shooting things twice and figuring out what he wanted to do in an editing room. So I didn't even know what my outcome would be until I was watching the show. I knew I was going away, but it was, I think I was the least upset of the actors there, about it. Because I was never meant to be there as long as I was, I was a day player on the show, to have lived that life on a show and to have played a character that so many people loved, and to be the thru line of innocence on the show was a great part to play, so I was grateful – I was in support of how I died. And David Chase is a genius, and I would follow him to the gates of hell!"
3 | James Gandolfini was a true gent
"I will share one story of something that he did that's an example of the kind of person that he is and the kind of mark that he left behind for all of us. Aside from being an amazing, amazing actor, he was the most generous and kindest soul, ever. When all of us made our deals with HBO, none of the actors were included in the DVD sales for the show. And when he found out about that, he was pretty pissed off, and he called each actor into his trailer one by one, and cut everybody a VERY big check for thousands of dollars, in the double numbers. And paid each actor a cut of the proceeds he'd gotten from the DVD sales at that time. That was completely unnecessary, but Jesus Christ, it was something I'll never forget, there aren't many people who would do that. And he bought us dinner every friday night, for the whole crew and cast. That's a lot of dinner. He was a giant pussycat, and he took care of everyone on that show.
4 | ...Not to mention sexy
"I wasn't on set with him as often as the other actors were, but I did have my time with him when he and i were cultivating somewhat of a relationship and an attraction. And I think that at this stage of the game, Deborah Lin Gandolfini won't be mad at me for saying this – I would have to say that he might have been the sexiest actor that i've ever had a chance to work with in a love scene capacity. Because he intimidated the SHIT out of me with those eyes. He would walk into a room, and every single girl in the room FELT his presence that only us girls know."
5 | Her favourite episode is 'University'
"One of my fave episodes was one of the ones that the fans and the press went BANANAS over, people were sort of mortified by it. I can't remember the name, but it's the episode where Ralphie kills the stripper, and the b-story is Meadow at college. There's her highly dysfunctional roommate. And to watch the two stories parallel each other, and how emotionally violent Meadow was towards that girl, and how she had NO compassion for her roommate, and to see this young girl being murdered who has none of the opportunity that Meadow had, and to just watch these people weaving in and out of their lives and seeing just now bleak the whole atmosphere is... for me was one of the profound episodes because you really see how she's her father's daughter, and you really see how the children aren't even spared of this sort of darkness, just a monster within.
"Selfishness, ya know, all that sort of stuff, which was always the opposite of who Adriana was on the show. She would not have been able to play a scene like that, she wouldn't have had a scene like that, except for the scene of her getting married. You see how the children are equally as non-innocent as the rest. And the endings of every episode were some of the most moving moments in TV history, the tableaus that David would leave a scene hanging on, something as simple as Carmela heating up a plate of ziti for him and him eating it - those moments said more to me than any dramatic scene or montage, they were always so meaningful."
6 | Ade's hair and nails were essential
"I couldn't get into character for Sopranos unless my nails were completely manicured, and at least an inch long. I couldn't get into character if my hair wasn't as big as it was when you would see it. I could never say my lines without my stiletto heels on. I couldn't do my accent without these things, these shoes on! A lot of times actors will put Uggs on if you don't see the character's feet - not me, man, I had to have those stilettos on, otherwise I couldn't even play across from who we were shooting."
7 | When you got whacked in the Sopranos, you got a pinball machine
"[I have a] Sopranos pinball machine, which is something they sent me when I met my demise. That was my big gift. But I kept a lot of things. I did keep the outfit that I met my demise in, I kept a lot of the crazy clothes, but the outfit that I died in was a big one for them to let go for me because all those things were going to museums or different places, and I kept my gold ADRIANA ring underlined in diamonds, I think I have a lot of my fake hair, that Christopher used to pull periodically when he'd be pissed at me, my stunt hair."