You always hear about actors who turned down roles in movies or T.V. that ultimately go on to have huge success. That’s just the nature of the business. A lot of the top stars obviously can’t take every role that is thrown their way. There are other instances though where an actor is actually paid money to turn down a role! If that’s the first time you hear of something like this happening you’re not alone. Apparently, though this is exactly what happened to the late James Gandolfini.
The Original Idea
According to Michael Imperioli, who played Tony’s nephew Christopher Moltisanti, and now hosts the Talking Sopranos podcast Gandolfini was offered a role to replace Steve Carell in the office. The story was told directly in front of Ricky Gervais the creator of the British version of the program. He didn’t say whether he was consulted about the move or not. It’s not clear whether Gandolfini would step into the role of Michael Scott directly. The idea may have been to create a character for Gandolfini on the show.
Gandolfini Was Ready To Take The Role
Steve Schirripa who co-hosts the podcast with Michael Imperioli detailed pretty much how negotiations went. Saying that Gandolfini was ready to accept the offer to appear on The Office. However, thats when HBO executives stepped in to stop him. Schirripa mentioned,
“Jim [Gandolfini] was going do it because he hadn’t worked, and it was a number of years removed from when the show ended.” he then added, “I think before James Spader and after [Steve] Carell, they offered Jim, I want to say, $4 million to play him for the season — and HBO paid him $3 million not to do it,”
Was HBO That Serious About Protecting The Sopranos Legacy?
HBO is still milking The Sopranos franchise to this day. Having the head of that franchise go off and do a comedy show may not have been great. However, that was probably not the only reason why HBO threw money at Gandolfini to not do The Office. Again according to people in the know Gandolfini was actually also working with HBO on another project at the time. The project was a thriller titled ’The Night Of,’. That project would not see the light of day until 2016. Three years after the untimely death of Gandolfini. Potentially HBO was able to easily throw money his way to not do The Office because he was under contract with the company.
The Gandolfini’s Are Still Tied To The Soprano’s
HBO is still taking care of James Gandolfini’s family even well after his passing. They cast his son 22-year-old son Michael to play the younger version of his father’s famous character Tony Soprano in what is set to be a prequel effort. The movie is titled “The Many Saints of Newark”. James’ widow and Michael’s mother said this of her son’s performance,
“I know it took a lot of courage for him to take this role. It was very emotional. But the whole family is just so proud of him. His father would be very proud.”