James Gandolfini was reportedly once so strongly opposed to filming a risqué scene for an episode of "The Sopranos" that he threw a "tantrum" and initially refused to do it.
The scene in question entailed Gandolfini's character, Tony Soprano, pleasuring himself in a gas station restroom, according to the new book "Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers" — an excerpt of which was published in New York magazine.
Gandolfini once remarked that he often showered after filming for the hit series because he felt "dirty" playing the role of Tony Soprano. As the book's author, James Andrew Miller, noted, there were already "fitful bouts of disruptive incredulousness as he [Gandolfini] reacted to certain scripts he was handed."
Gandolfini would reportedly "balk at a particular scene" and instead of asking producers if he had to film the scene would "wonder out loud, 'What the f*ck is this?' and then declare flatly, 'I'm not doing it.'"
The scene in which Tony Soprano masturbates was no exception, but according to Miller, Gandolfini eventually relented and filmed the scene, which ended up being cut out of the finished episode.
When it came to business, Gandolfini and his team were "much more formidable," Miller noted.
"They understood how indispensable he was to the series," he wrote. "They knew no one could replace him. So Gandolfini, at the urging of his representatives, staged a notorious holdout during particularly prickly contract negotiations."
Miller pointed out that Gandolfini's contract wasn't even up, but HBO had agreed to open up discussions in 2003 to give him a new deal. However, what began as a standoff grew "increasingly nasty." After three months, the two sides found a way through the impasse. However, contractual agreements with HBO arose once again years after "The Sopranos" had ended.
Gandolfini was reportedly tapped to replace Steve Carell in "The Office" following his departure in 2011, but HBO reportedly offered to pay him $3 million to turn down the role. "Sopranos" stars Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa made the revelation in an episode of the two actors' "Talking Sopranos" podcast recently.
"I think before James Spader and after Carell, they offered [the part to] Jim [Gandolfini], I want to say $4 million to play him for the season — and HBO paid him $3 million not to do it," Schirripa replied, adding, "That's a fact."
Gandolfini was considering the role but already had a deal with HBO to star in and serve as executive producer of the network's miniseries "The Night Of." John Turturro took over the role after Gandolfini died in Rome of a heart attack at age 51 in 2013.
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