How a ‘Sopranos’ Producer Knew Federico Castelluccio Would Be Perfect as Furio

by Jeremy Spirogis
Sopranos cast

When followers of The Sopranos watch the crew head to Italy in season 2, there’s a rush of recent areas and unfamiliar characters. And instantly upon arriving at their Naples lodge in “Commendatori” — with Andrea Bocelli hovering on the soundtrack — Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) and Christopher (Michael Imperioli) begin expressing admiration for the native coloration.

“You know what I noticed on the plane?” Christopher tells Paulie and Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). “Even the skanks are worth f*cking.” Once contained in the lodge, Tony and his seconds meet Italian point-man Furio Giunta, performed by Federico Castelluccio.

Later that night time, whereas eating with the native boss, Tony notes Furio’s means to handle issues on his superiors’ behalf. And after dinner, he notices how Furio handles a possible risk to his boss’s security.

So when Tony negotiates a take care of Naples, he contains Furio as one in every of his phrases. That introduces a serious character for the subsequent few seasons. According to Sopranos writer-producer Terence Winter, Castelluccio confirmed he’d be good as Furio proper from his audition.

Federico Castelluccio confirmed he may deal with each facet of Furio at his audition

Sopranos cast
Federico Castelluccio, Vincent Pastore and James Gandolfini | KMazur/WireImage

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During his July 27 go to to the Talking Sopranos podcast, Winter recalled the auditions for the Furio character. The character demanded an actor who spoke Italian, may deal with himself, and would later function the love curiosity of Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco).

It didn’t go properly at first. “We went through so many guys,” Winter mentioned on Talking Sopranos. “And all people appeared like Mr. Bacciagalupe from Abbott & Costello. It was horrible.” Then Castelluccio walked within the door. He was simply what Winter had in thoughts for Furio.

“I said this to Federico and it’s the God’s honest truth: He is exactly what I thought about when I wrote that character,” Winter mentioned. However, Winter wasn’t able to declare victory till he watched Furio in fight.

“I labored on The Great Defender and we had an actor who needed to throw a punch in a scene,” Winter mentioned. “We didn’t think to ask the guy to let us see him throw a punch. On the day [of the fight scene], it was clear he never threw a punch before.” So Winter had Castelluccio throw a punch.

Terence Winter beloved Castelluccio’s preventing expertise

Federico Castelluccio and John VentimigliaFederico Castelluccio and John Ventimiglia
Federico Castelluccio and John Ventimiglia attend a Gotham Magazine anniversary social gathering in New York. | Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic

Though Winter had seen the worst in actors’ preventing expertise, Castelluccio didn’t disappoint. “He mimed the violence, and it was like ‘Holy shit,’” Winter recalled saying to himself. “‘This guy is the guy.’”

TV exhibits don’t shoot in sequence, so Winter was referring to a alter episode (“Big Girls Don’t Cry”) through which Furio tears via a New Jersey brothel. The manufacturing shot that scene previous to heading over to Italy for “Commendatori.” In transient, Castelluccio locked down Furio earlier than the Italian interlude.

It wasn’t that straightforward for Castelluccio, nonetheless. Winter recalled issues the night time of the brothel shoot. Since they had been filming on a Jersey location, they needed to end after four a.m. one night time. And Castelluccio needed to hit each mark on his extended-shot rampage in a single take. He did it, although.

“This was one of the first days Federico ever worked,” Winter recalled. “And we asked him to do an incredibly sophisticated stunt sequence.” (It begins with Tony within the automobile.) “What you see on TV is one take — the only take. […] It was all on Federico.”

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