It was the easiest $3 million James Gandolfini ever made.
A recent episode of the Talking Sopranos podcast saw co-hosts Michael Imerioli and Steve Schirripa (aka Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos) reveal that James Gandolfini was paid $3 million to turn down a role as the new boss in The Office.
The story came up during a conversation with Ricky Gervais, who created the original UK version of The Office.
“You know, they talked about having Gandolfini at one point replace him [Steve Carell], did you know that?” Gervais said.
The story goes like this: Several years after The Sopranos ended, NBC needed an impact replacement for Steve Carell’s departure from The Office.
Schirripa claimed NBC offered Gandolfini $4 million dollars for one season.
But HBO paid him $3 million not to do it.
“Jim was going to do it because he hadn’t worked and it was a number of years removed from when the show ended,” Schirripa said.
“So they paid him that to keep the legacy of The Sopranos pure?” Gervais joked.
Apparently, HBO has gotten over its qualms. The official trailer for the prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, which focuses on the early years of Tony Soprano, premieres Oct. 1 on HBO Max and in theaters.