The Late James Gandolfini, Star of The Sopranos, Appears on Inside the Actors Studio (2004)

We often write about the cur­rent “gold­en age” of high­ly craft­ed, the­mat­i­cal­ly lay­ered, tonal­ly var­ied tele­vi­sion dra­ma, espe­cial­ly its well-known recent high water marks in series like The WireMad Men, and Break­ing Bad. But if you believe many tele­vi­sion crit­ics, this long and cap­ti­vat­ing wave first rose back in 1999 with David Chase’s ultra­mod­ern mob show The Sopra­nos. Noth­ing onscreen drove its six sea­sons quite so dynam­i­cal­ly as the star­ring per­for­mance from James Gan­dolfi­ni as put-upon mafia boss Tony Sopra­no. The actor’s sud­den pass­ing yes­ter­day will sure­ly prompt count­less Sopra­nos fans to watch the entire series again, and as many soon-to-be Sopra­nos fans to final­ly catch up with the tele­vi­sion mas­ter­piece they’d missed. Before you launch into either of those extend­ed view­ing ses­sions, though (or their nine-minute com­pres­sion), con­sid­er watch­ing Gan­dolfini’s 2004 appear­ance on Inside the Actors Stu­dio at the top of the post (with Span­ish sub­ti­tles).

Gan­dolfini’s con­ver­sa­tion with host James Lip­ton cov­ers his Ital­ian fam­i­ly, his ear­ly work on the stage, his first turn as a mob­ster in True Romance (which includ­ed an appear­ance in what Lip­ton calls the most vio­lent scene Quentin Taran­ti­no ever wrote), which oth­er big star’s father his own father bought tires from, the praise Roger Ebert gave him, how he sees point of view as cen­tral to the craft of act­ing, and how Tony Sopra­no first entered his life. Lip­ton asks Gan­dolfi­ni what he saw in the char­ac­ter that he felt he could play. “It’s a man in strug­gle,” the actor replies. “He does­n’t have a reli­gion. He does­n’t believe in the gov­ern­ment. He does­n’t believe in any­thing except his code of hon­or, and his code of hon­or’s all going to shit. He has noth­ing left, so he’s look­ing around — that search­ing I think a lot of Amer­i­ca does half the time.” Just above, you can watch one of many intense moments in the life of Tony Sopra­no, this one a domes­tic one-on-one with his wife Carmela, played by the also-acclaimed Edie Fal­co.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

James Gan­dolfi­ni Reads from Mau­rice Sendak’s Sto­ry Book “In The Night Kitchen”

The Nine Minute Sopra­nos

David Chase Speaks

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­lesA Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.