How ‘Sopranos’ Star Tony Sirico Would Try to Get Paulie Walnuts More Screen Time

by Jeremy Spirogis
How ‘Sopranos’ Star Tony Sirico Would Try to Get Paulie Walnuts More Screen Time

The extra you hearken to actors, writers, and crew members who labored on The Sopranos, the extra you begin believing everybody has a memorable story about Tony Sirico. In his his wire-to-wire run (74 episodes) as Paulie Walnuts, Sirico made an impression on nearly each soul he met.

Terence Winter, who wrote and produced “Pine Barrens” (amongst many different nice Sopranos episodes), recalled his first encounter with Sirico on his first day within the writers room. On that event, Sirico greeted Winter by threatening him to not kill off Paulie.

Steve Schirripa (Bobby Baccala) additionally heard loads from Sirico in his first days on the set. Before his first week had ended, Sirico informed Schirripa that the Baccala character would quickly die. (That didn’t occur till about 70 episodes later.)

But Sirico had a number of suggestions for Schirripa whereas he caught round — they usually revolved round getting Sirico extra display screen time. That appeared to be a recurring theme when forged and crew members interacted with Sirico on the Sopranos set.

‘Sopranos’ director Allen Coulter mentioned Tony Sirico tried to sneak right into a scene with out Paulie

'Sopranos' crew group shot
Michael Imperioli, James Gandolfini, Tony Siroco & Steve Van Zandt pose on the set of ‘The Sopranos.’ | Anthony Neste/The LIFE Images Collection through Getty Images

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On the August 16 version of the Talking Sopranos podcast, director Allen Coulter checked in to debate his work on “Full Leather Jacket” (season 2 episode 8). Along the way in which, co-hosts Schirripa and Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) requested for his Sirico story.

Not surprisingly, Coulter had one. Though he couldn’t recall the precise episode, Coulter may keep in mind the circumstances. In the scene, Paulie (Sirico) says one thing to Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) earlier than making his exit. But Sirico by no means actually exited.

“Tony [Sirico] loved to be on camera,” Coulter mentioned. “So we’re shooting a scene in the back of the Bada Bing. [Paulie] has some lines, and then he leaves.” As in lots of Sopranos scenes, Tony Soprano (Gandolfini) would take that chance to have a non-public dialog with somebody.

“We’re rehearsing, and I see in the back doorway [Sirico peeking past the door],” Coulter recalled. I mentioned, ‘Tony, you gotta go. [Paulie] can’t witness this scene.’” But as soon as they began rolling the cameras and taking pictures, Coulter once more noticed Sirico’s face peeking into the door. “He just couldn’t — he was drawn to the camera,” Coulter mentioned with amusing.

Sirico would additionally inform ‘Sopranos’ actors to have a look at him after delivering a line

'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini and Tony Sirico'Sopranos' star James Gandolfini and Tony Sirico
James Gandolfini and Tony Sirico pose at a Jersey City cemetery whereas taking pictures a scene for “The Sopranos.” | Thomas Monaster/NY Daily News Archive through Getty Images

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Schirripa (Baccala) knew precisely what Coulter was speaking about. On his very first day of labor on The Sopranos, Schirripa mentioned Sirico urged he have a look at him (Sirico) after saying his traces. Schirripa informed that individual story on episode 15 of Talking Sopranos.

“During the scene, Sirico — who I didn’t know — came up to me, which he’s been known to do. ‘After you say that line, look at me,’” Schirripa recalled Sirico saying. “‘[Then] I’ll look at you. Let me get my mug in there.’” But that was earlier than he informed Schirripa he could be getting whacked.

Indeed, Sirico cherished being on the display screen, and he couldn’t assist making an effort to get his Paulie extra time in entrance of the digicam every time he may. All issues thought-about, Sirico succeeded on this entrance. He made it to the final episode alive.

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