5 Things You Didn't Know About The Sopranos

On this day in 2013, James Gandolfini, the actor best known for his role as New Jersey crime boss Tony Soprano, died of a heart attack while on vacation in Rome, Italy.  Here are five interesting facts you'll want to know about The Sopranos. 

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The Sopranos Shares 28 Cast Members With The Movie Goodfellas According to IMDb, six regular Sopranos cast members appeared in Goodfellas (Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico, Vincent Pastore, Frank Vincent, and Joseph R. Gannascoli). Ten recurring Sopranos characters and 11 one-time guest stars also appeared in the 1990 Martin Scorsese masterpiece.

James Gandolfini Was Not the First Choice To Play Tony It's hard to imagine anyone but James Gandolfini in the lead role of Tony Soprano, but according to David Chase, he originally envisioned Bruce Springsteen's guitarist, Steve Van Zandt, as the top dog. Chase saw Van Zandt giving a speech at the Rock n" Roll Hall of Fame and found him funny and charming. He also felt Van Zandt looked like a younger Al Pacino. HBO wasn't willing to roll the dice on a first-time actor for such an important role, which is why Gandolfini was cast. But, Chase didn't give up on having Van Zandt as part of the show—he wrote in a character especially for Van Zandt. The character, Silvio Dante, was modeled after a short story written by Van Zandt himself.

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The Producers Wanted Lorraine Bracco to Play Tony’s Wife Instead of Edie Falco, the producers thought Lorraine Bracco would be better playing Carmella Soprano. However, Bracco had a different idea and asked to play Dr. Jennifer Melfi, Tony’s psychiatrist. She was right because she garnered four Emmy nominations and three for the Golden Globes. Bracco said the role was difficult since it called for her to be reserved, something she was not in real life as she was naturally emotional.

The Mob Wondered If a Connected Mobster Was a Consultant on the Sopranos Real mobsters loved to talk about The Sopranos after every episode aired, according to the FBI who was listening to their conversations. The wiseguys were convinced that someone on the inside was working on the series. The mobsters were astounded by the exactness of the way mobsters were portrayed on the television show.

James Gandolfini Resolved A Salary Dispute On The Show Before Season 5, the cast of The Sopranos was involved in a salary dispute among the cast members. According to the actor who portrayed Tony’s wife, the group staged a sit-in, which virtually stopped the show in its tracks. To help quell tensions, Gandolfini split his bonus among all the regular cast members, giving them each $33,333.