‘The Sopranos’: When Michael Imperioli Realized Christopher Wasn’t Getting Whacked Early

by Jeremy Spirogis
Tony and Christopher look at the camera on

What’s it like for an up-and-coming actor to hitch a mob collection? At the very begin of The Sopranos in 1997, it was very like getting solid for another pilot. After taking pictures the primary episode (which obtained messy for some), solid members hoped the community would order the collection and get on with season 1.

Michael Imperioli, who’d gotten the a part of Christopher Moltisanti, was taking probabilities on the function proper from the beginning. On the Talking Sopranos podcast, he advised co-host Steve Schirripa (Bobby “Baccala”) that he needed to flip down a task in a Woody Allen movie to even work on the pilot.

But even after the pilot you need to take your probabilities in any mafia story. Vincent Pastore, who performed Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero, discovered that on the shut of season 2. And it actually weighed on different actors’ minds.

In the case of Imperioli, he didn’t really feel protected in any respect within the longevity of his Christopher character after coming again to movie season 1. At one level, he thought a minor character would possibly take the place of Christopher on the present.

Michael Imperioli thought Brendan Filone would possibly take Christopher’s place

Tony and Christopher look at the camera on 'The Sopranos'
(L-R) Actors James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli in a scene from the TV present The Sopranos | Anthony Neste/The LIFE Images Collection through Getty Images

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As Imperioli regarded again on the basic collection, he defined how he had no concept what was in retailer for Christopher. “After the pilot got picked up, I remember reading episode 2,” he mentioned on Talking Sopranos. “It was before they had cast the role of Brendan Filone [a small-time hood and friend of Christopher’s].”

After getting by way of the pilot as one of many few younger characters on the present, Imperioli thought the arrival of Brendan may spell the tip of Christopher. “I was so neurotic,” he mentioned. “I see Brendan Filone; he’s a handsome young guy. And I’m thinking they’re bringing him on to replace Christopher.”

Soon sufficient, producers solid Anthony DeSando as Brendan and Imperioli started working with him. (The two actors grew to become good buddies in actual life.) And, not lengthy after, the reckless Brendan met his finish in a bath in what Pussy precisely described as “a Moe Green special.”

But nonetheless Imperioli couldn’t make certain the following good-looking younger actor wasn’t across the nook ready to step into his place on The Sopranos. That modified when he obtained the script for episode eight of season 1.

Imperioli felt reassured by ‘The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti’

Michael Imperioli as Christopher on 'The Sopranos'Michael Imperioli as Christopher on 'The Sopranos'
‘The Sopranos’ collection common Michael Imperioli | Getty Images

Things brightened up for Imperioli when he obtained the script for “The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti.” Between his distinguished function within the episode and the doorways opened by the writers (Frank Renzulli and David Chase), Imperioli noticed a future for his Christopher.

“At this point (season 1 episode 8), I’d had some good stuff — a decent scene here, but then a few episodes where I hardly did anything,” Imperioli recalled. “Then when I read this I realized they’re making this guy a big character. I didn’t necessarily know that was gonna happen [before].”

If you recall “The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti,” you most likely keep in mind laughing as Christopher will get indignant concerning the remedy Brendan obtained posthumously within the media. (Chrissie’s blood boils when newscasters discuss with Brendan as “an associate.”)

And Imperioli’s effective efficiency cemented the actual fact he’d be round for some time. All in all, Imperioli thought-about it a fantastic day when he obtained these pages. “When I learn this script, I used to be actually like … very completely satisfied,” Imperioli mentioned. “Very pleasantly surprised.”

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