How Tony Sirico Told ‘Sopranos’ Writers He’d React to Paulie Walnuts Dying

by Jeremy Spirogis
Tony Sirico and

If you had been an actor or author who was new to The Sopranos, there was a good probability you’d have a run-in with Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) early in your time on the present. Steve Schirripa, who performed Bobby Baccala, definitely had a memorable encounter with Sirico throughout his first week.

Schirripa, who co-hosts the Talking Sopranos podcast with Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti), instructed the story on the July 6 version of his present. After Schirripa shot a scene during which his Baccala character cursed Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), Sirico had a message for him.

“You’re dead,” Schirripa recalled Sirico telling him on Talking Sopranos. “You’re done. You cursed at the boss, you spit at the boss, you’re dead.” Naturally, Schirripa didn’t know how you can take that ominous message. But he went about his business and survived for much longer than Sirico predicted.

Terence Winter, who produced and wrote dozens of Sopranos episodes, additionally had a memorable encounter with Sirico on his first day of labor (in season 2). In this case, Sirico had a message about any storyline that may contain the dying of Paulie Walnuts.

Tony Sirico warned ‘Sopranos’ writers about killing off Paulie Walnuts

Tony Sirico and 'Sopranos' co-stars on location
Michael Imperioli, Steve Schirripa, and Tony Sirico work on a “Sopranos” location in Queens, 2006. | Marcel Thomas/FilmMagic

On the July 27 Talking Sopranos, Winter instructed numerous entertaining tales from the Sopranos writers room. While getting settled in for the present’s season 2 run, new-writer-in-the-room Winter rapidly acquired to know the one and solely Sirico.

“The first thing Tony Sirico ever said to me — literally on day one — was, ‘You’re the new writer? Let me tell you something. If you ever write a script where I die? First, I die. Then you die.’ [laughs] I was like, OK.” But Sirico wasn’t completed.

“I’m telling you. Don’t f*cking think about killing me,” Sirico instructed Winter. Apparently, Winter wasn’t alone in having this chat with Sirico. And quickly sufficient he and the opposite writers discovered a strategy to toy with Sirico’s worry that Paulie may get whacked.

“Every once in a while we would type up a phony script page that had Paulie dying and leave it around,” Winter mentioned. “But he got wise to that after a while.”

Sirico had different calls for for his Paulie character through the years

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Tony Sirico gestures earlier than attending the season 5 premiere of “The Sopranos” in 2004. | Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘The Sopranos’: Why Tony Sirico Would Take Issue With Paulie Walnuts Costumes

While Paulie getting whacked was clearly a dangerous plotline for any Sopranos author to pursue, the checklist didn’t finish there. Over the present’s eight-year run, Sirico took subject with a number of issues writers tried to have Paulie do. Topping that checklist was the concept that Paulie would grow to be a rat.

“I come from the streets,” Sirico instructed Deadline in 2019. “I wouldn’t play a rat if you put a gun to my head. And if you did put a gun to my head, you better empty it.” But Sirico additionally had an issue with writers labeling Paulie “a bully” in a single episode.

When he acquired a script during which one other character (the corrupt Lt. Makazian) referred to Paulie as a bully, Sirico went to the writers asking for a change. After contemplating it, they determined Makazian would name Paulie a psycho. Would that work? It did. Sirico didn’t thoughts Paulie being labeled a psycho in any respect.

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