The Sopranos star James Gandolfini was ‘paid $3m’ to turn down lead role in The US Office

Late actor came close to replacing Steve Carell for a season

Louis Chilton
Wednesday 14 July 2021 14:51 BST
The Soprano family meet for dinner in final episode Made in America

Late Sopranos actor James Gandolfini was allegedly paid $3m by HBO to turn down the lead role in the US remake of The Office.

He was offered the role when the popular sitcom was already partway through its run, and was seeking a replacement for Steve Carell.

Gandolfini’s co-stars Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa discussed the incident on their Talking Sopranos podcast, having welcomed on Ricky Gervais (creator of the UK Office) as a guest.

“You know, they talked about having Gandolfini at one point replace [Carell], did you know that?” asked Imperioli, who played Tony Soprano’s nephew Christopher Moltisanti.

Schirripa, who played Tony’s brother-in-law Bobby Baccala, said: “I think before James Spader and after Carell, they offered Jim, I want to say $4m to play him for the season and HBO paid him $3m not to do it. That’s a fact.”

“That’s a good decision,” Gervais replied.

Schirripa added that Gandolfini “was going do it” because he was looking for work and it was “a number of years removed from when [The Sopranos] ended”.

“So they paid him that to keep the legacy of The Sopranos pure?” asked Gervais.

“I guess that and also he had a deal with them,” responded Schirripa, adding that he was involved in developing the HBO miniseries The Night Of.

After Gandolfini’s death, his role in The Night Of was taken by John Turturro.

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