(Potential spoilers for The Sopranos ahead.)
The late James Gandolfini, who portrayed mob boss Tony Soprano on the seminal HBO series The Sopranos, was breaking balls on set when the writers room forced his hand in filming a particular scene.
As part of the show’s final season, Tony Soprano was made … to masturbate inside of a gas station. The actor objected to filming the scene and shouted on set, What the f**k is this? — according to a new book titled Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, detailing benchmarks in the network’s history that led to its prominence in modern media.
“There were … fitful bouts of disruptive incredulousness as he reacted to certain scripts he was handed,” the book’s author described.
Rather than channeling his inner Gary Cooper, the book described Gandolfini as an outspoken critic of the show’s writing during filming. Though the cast has celebrated the esoteric storylines, complex characters and overall genius from show creator David Chase — translating the emotional journey of a mafioso in a manner that audiences could grasp themselves — Gandolfini wasn’t afraid to speak up when a scene made no sense.
Was he fantasizing of Gloria Trillo? Dr. Melfi? Adriana? Or perhaps that angel of a wife, Carm? The mystery will live on to grip fans of the show since the scandalous scene never made it to television.
Regardless of the objections and tantrums, the character embodied by gentle giant Gandolfini continues to live on as a silver screen legend years since the show’s ending and the actor’s tragic passing in 2013.
What was the show’s best season? Better yet, why should the universal pick not be Season 3?
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