‘The Sopranos’: The Roles John Ventimiglia Lost to James Gandolfini Before They Met

by Jeremy Spirogis
John Ventimiglia

When the forged of The Sopranos gathered in 1997 to shoot the pilot, lots of the actors had labored collectively on tasks up to now. One instance was Hand Gun (1994). In that image, you’ll discover Paul Schulze (Father Phil), Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti), and Frank Vincent (Phil Leotardo).

John Ventimiglia (Artie Bucco) additionally turns up in a small function within the low-budget heist film. For Ventimiglia, Hand Gun represented greater than a minor display screen credit score on the best way to a protracted profession in appearing; it was the image that bought him his SAG card.

On the August 31 version of Talking Sopranos, Ventimiglia spoke concerning the years earlier than he labored on the HBO mob sequence. Along the best way, Ventimiglia discovered himself in competitors with James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano) for various roles. And Gandolfini stored beating him out for the components.

James Gandolfini beat out John Ventimiglia for a movie and Broadway present earlier than ‘The Sopranos’

John Ventimiglia
John Ventimiglia at a ‘Sopranos’ occasion in 2007 | Tom Briglia/FilmMagic

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On his go to to Talking Sopranos, Ventimiglia had so much to speak about with co-hosts Imperioli and Steve Schirripa (Bobby Baccala). Ventimiglia and Imperioli met at appearing college in New York within the early ’80s and got here up via the ranks collectively. (They have been even roommates at one level.)

But for Ventimiglia his time on The Sopranos started with an encounter with the actor he acknowledged from a number of casting-call battles of latest reminiscence. “He beat me out for, like, three roles in a row before I knew who he was,” Ventimiglia mentioned of Gandolfini.

“He beat me out for The Juror [1994] with Alec Baldwin,” Ventimiglia recalled. “I screen-tested with Alec Baldwin. They kept bringing me in, bringing me in. Then they said, ‘Oh, they gave it to Gandolfini.’ I’m like, ‘Who?’”

But it didn’t finish there. “Our instructor Eileen Aiken mentioned, ‘They’re doing A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway. I’m going to inform them about you,’” Ventimiglia recalled. “And Gandolfini got it.” However, Ventimiglia discovered it laborious to carry it towards his Sopranos co-star.

Ventimiglia additionally auditioned for Tony Soprano

James Gandolfini with John VentimigliaJames Gandolfini with John Ventimiglia
James Gandolfini, Steve Schirripa and John Ventimiglia | KMazur/WireImage for Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS

At one other level within the August 31 Talking Sopranos, Ventimiglia spoke about studying for the Tony Soprano and Paulie Walnuts characters earlier than producers forged him as Artie Bucco. So in a way Gandolfini beat him out for the Sopranos lead as effectively.

If it have been one other actor, Ventimiglia may need resented him for it. But he mentioned Gandolfini’s humility preempted such emotions. “The thing about Jim — I don’t want to be corny about it but it’s true — if I ever said, ‘You know man, you beat me out. Your name kept coming up.’ He’d be like, ‘You would’ve been better [in the role].’”

The extra you hear from forged members about their time working with Gandoldfini, the extra you come to anticipate such tales. Even a man who misplaced work to Gandolfini on three events couldn’t harbor ailing will for the man. It’s one of many causes he stays so missed seven years after his loss of life.

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