The Menacing ‘Sopranos’ Role Ed O’Neill Auditioned for Prior to Season 2

by Jeremy Spirogis
Ed O

When you concentrate on the success of The Sopranos, it’s a must to give credit score to the present’s villains over these six seasons and 86 episodes. Early on, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) confronted probably the most formidable villain of all: his mom Livia (Nancy Marchand).

Later, we noticed Tony grapple with the likes of the obnoxious Ralph Cifaretto (Joey Pantoliano) and the grouchy Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent). But early on in season 2 viewers obtained to know an old-school nemesis who might strike concern into hearts with the perfect of them: Richie Aprile.

Just making the rounds on his first day trip of jail proves eventful for Richie, performed by David Proval. Viewers get an concept of his model when he bashes the top of a pizzeria proprietor with a espresso pot (mid-conversation). Richie means business, and his ultraviolent techniques go away little doubt about how he plans to conduct himself.

For Sopranos producers, discovering the appropriate actor to play Richie was tough. Terence Winter, who wrote and produced dozens of the collection’ episodes, recalled a number of the actors who learn for the half. Among them was Modern Family star Ed O’Neill.

Ed O’Neill tried out for Richie Aprile forward of ‘The Sopranos’ Season 2

Ed O'Neill gestures in a scene from 'Modern Family'
Ed O’Neill and Sofia Vergara in ‘Modern Family’ | Eric McCandless through Getty Images

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On a go to to the July 27 version of the Talking Sopranos podcast, co-host Steve Schirripa (Bobby Baccala) requested Winter if he recalled any large actors who learn for roles however didn’t get the half. Right away, Winter considered the seek for Richie Aprile.

“We had a lot of actors who came in [for that part],” Winter recalled. He pointed to Ed Marinaro, the previous NFL participant and actor who labored on Hill Street Blues and different collection, as one of many names that jumped out.

Winter additionally recalled O’Neill’s audition. “Ed O’Neill came in and read and was really great,” Winter mentioned. Just glancing on the listed heights of Marinaro (6’2″) and O’Neill (6’1″), it seems producers had been initially in search of somebody who might bodily match up with Gandolfini’s Tony.

But it didn’t pan out that means. “A lot of these guys were big,” Winter mentioned. “Some were even bigger than Jim. But it wasn’t working. Jim was so overpowering.” In the tip, they selected an actor who didn’t come near the bodily stature of Gandolfini.

David Proval gained the Richie half along with his means to do ‘menace’

Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) speaks to Richie Aprile (David Proval) within the mall. | HBO

When it got here time to decide on their Richie Aprile, Sopranos producers went with the performer most adept at intimidation — and that was Proval. In his case, it didn’t matter that he’s listed at not fairly 5’7″. Proval made it occur along with his eyes.

“It’s all in those eyes,” Winter informed Schirripa and Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) on Talking Sopranos. “It’s obviously not a physical thing. But there’s such a menace there.” In auditions with Gandolfini, they noticed Proval’s means to transcend any bodily limitations.

“You saw [Proval] stand up to Jim and you say, ‘OK, I believe this guy,’” Winter mentioned. “Not to take anything away from Ed Marinaro or Ed O’Neill, but it just wasn’t clicking. David Proval was so scary, and that worked [for Richie].”

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