James Gandolfini Threatened to ‘Beat the F***’ Out of Harvey Weinstein in 201206/18/2020
It’s impossible to talk about The Sopranos without acknowledging the impact it had on the media landscape of the Nineties, heralding the so-called “golden age of television” and helping to propagate a whole subgenre of antihero-led serialized crime dramas. And in a recent interview with podcaster Joe Rogan, actors Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa did just that.
However, while discussing how the late actor James Gandolfini embodied the role of Tony Soprano, both men were quick to point out that he was nothing like his mob boss character, painting him as a quieter, more artistic type.
“He was more like a hippie,” says Imperioli. “He was very laid back, he’d wear Birkenstocks and a bandana on his head, he didn’t really talk like that… He didn’t grow up around that, he was a theater guy.”
“He never wanted to do a talk show, I would say, ‘Everyone thinks you’re Tony Soprana, why don’t you pick Letterman or whatever, and show them the real Jim, you’re a very intelligent guy’… But he never did a talk show, he did 60 Minutes but he wouldn’t do any of the talk shows, he said ‘I’m not interesting.'”
There was one occasion, however, when Schirripa can recall the otherwise mild-mannered actor losing his temper and behaving a little bit like his character. Shortly after filming Killing Them Softly with Brad Pitt in 2012, Gandolfini clashed with now-disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein over his reticence to go on talk shows to do promo — and their disagreement got pretty heated.
“He said, ‘Harvey Weinstein called me, he wants me to do Letterman and I said I don’t do talk shows,'” says Schirripa. “And he kept calling, and he got fucking nasty with Jim. And Jim said, ‘I will beat the fuck out of Harvey Weinstein! He fucking calls me again, I will beat the fuck out of him! For the money he paid me, I’m not fucking doing it!’ Swear to God. And this is all before all the Harvey Weinstein shit, when he was still king shit.”
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