‘The Sopranos’: Michael Imperioli Had to Turn Down a Woody Allen Movie to Shoot the Pilot

by Jeremy Spirogis
Kenneth Branagh on set of Woody Allen

If you’ve caught any of the Talking Sopranos podcast, you might need heard Steve Schirripa (Bobby Baccala on the HBO sequence) say he couldn’t think about some other actors enjoying the present’s nice characters. But, it being Hollywood, producers actually saved their choices open throughout casting.

Otherwise, there wouldn’t be tales of creator David Chase contemplating Steven Van Zandt (Silvio Dante) and Michael Rispoli (Jackie Aprile) for the a part of Tony Soprano (performed so nicely by James Gandolfini). And the listing — which incorporates Marcia Gay Harden going for the function of Janice Soprano — solely begins there.

Michael Imperioli, who performed the a part of Christopher Moltisanti, co-hosts Talking Sopranos with Schirripa. And within the podcast’s debut episode (Apr. 6, 2020) Imperioli revealed how somebody may simply have stepped into his sneakers as Christopher. Had he taken a coveted function in a Woody Allen movie, one other actor would have taken Imperioli’s place.

Michael Imperioli had landed an element in Woody Allen’s ‘Celebrity’

Kenneth Branagh on set of Woody Allen's 'Celebrity'
Melanie Griffith and Kenneth Branagh work on the set of ‘Celebrity,’ written and directed by Woody Allen.| Sunset Boulevard/Corbis by way of Getty Images

While Imperioli hadn’t gotten his massive break on the time he landed his Sopranos function, he’d appeared in Goodfellas (1990), The Basketball Diaries (1995), and Last Man Standing (1996) in addition to a number of Spike Lee movies. By the late ’90s he may most likely inform he would have a stable profession within the business.

Earning himself an element in a significant new HBO sequence possible put an exclamation level on that thought. But most actors dream about (or used to dream about) working in a Woody Allen film. And after auditioning for Celebrity (1998) Imperioli acquired his want. (He would play a man in Leonardo DiCaprio’s character’s entourage.)

As luck had it, the shoots had schedules that just about labored out completely — however not fairly. On Talking Sopranos, Imperioli defined the way it unfolded. “The part in the Woody Allen movie is not a big part, but it [involved] a number of days.” And of the times conflicted with the Sopranos shoot.

“My agent said, ‘You gotta make a choice,’” Imperioli recalled. “‘Do you want to do the pilot or do you want to work with Woody Allen?’ I took the pilot because the role [of Christopher] was great.”

Sam Rockwell ended up enjoying the function in ‘Celebrity’

Michael Imperioli and Drea de Matteo in 'The Sopranos'Michael Imperioli and Drea de Matteo in 'The Sopranos'
Michael Imperioli & Drea De Matteo actin scene from HBO cable TV sequence The Sopranos. | Anthony Neste/The LIFE Images Collection by way of Getty Images

Celebrity was, like most Allen films, a star-studded affair. Kenneth Branagh and DiCaprio performed starring roles. Charlize Theron, Melanie Griffith, and Winona Ryder additionally performed massive elements within the film. Even the minor characters have been performed actors to turned out to be model names.

Famke Janssen, Joe Mantegna, and J.Ok. Simmons rely amongst those that flip up within the movie. In the DiCaprio character’s entourage, audiences discovered Adrian Grenier in a “bro” function that he’d later play in a sequence of his personal on HBO (i.e., Entourage).

As for the half Imperioli initially landed within the star’s entourage, Sam Rockwell checked that field. And in the event you scan the credit, you’ll discover a variety of different future Sopranos stars (together with Tony Sirico and Aida Turturro). Imperioli may have been there, too, if not for a little bit of dangerous luck.

Also see: The Podcast by ‘Sopranos’ Actors Robert Iler and Jamie-Lynn Sigler Hasn’t Exactly Caught Fire

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