My Celebrity Life

James Gandolfini paid $3million by Sopranos bosses to turn down Steve Carell’s role in The Office

My Celebrity Life –

James Gandolfini paid millions by HBO to reject The Office role (Picture: HBO)

It’s hard to imagine James Gandolfini play any character other than Tony Soprano, and it’s now been revealed HBO paid the late actor $3million (£2million) to reject an offer to be in The Office.

Following Steve Carell’s departure from the NBC show in 2011, James was offered a role to replace Michael Scott.

During Monday’s episode of Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirrip’s (who were co-stars on The Sopranos) podcast Talking Sopranos, the pair revealed the news.

Ricky Gervais, the British actor and comedian who played David Brent in the original BBC series before the American adaptation, was interviewed by the co-hosts.

They revealed James came very close to replacing Steve before HBO intervened to preserve the legacy of The Sopranos.

Michael, who played Tony’s nephew, asked Ricky: ‘You know, they talked about having Gandolfini at one point replace him [Steve Carell], did you know that?’

When Extras star Ricky said he was unaware of the news, the two actors filled him in on why it never came to be.

‘So we’ve talked about it before,’ Steve, who played Tony’s brother-in-law, told the comedian.

‘I think before James Spader and after [Steve] Carell, they offered Jim [Gandolfini], I want to say $4million dollars to play him for the season and HBO paid him $3million not to do it.

He concluded: ‘That’s a fact.’

The Sopranos ended in 2007 after six seasons, which was four years before Steve would leave his starring role in The Office. This would have meant James would have been able to step in if HBO hadn’t put a stop to it.

‘Well, that’s a good decision,’ Ricky said.

Steve continued:’Jim was going do it because he hadn’t worked, and it was a number of years removed from when the show ended.’

Ricky questioned whether HBO bosses paid James to ‘keep the legacy of The Sopranos pure’.

‘I guess that and also he had a deal with them,’ Steve answered.

My Celebrity Life –

James was lauded for his portrayal of Tony (Picture: HBO)

The actor explained James was developing The Night Of at the time, a HBO crime thriller that wouldn’t debut until 2016, about three years after James’s death.

Even though James passed on the role in The Office, he went on to be nominated for a Tony Award for his 2009 role in Broadway’s God of Carnage.

He also voiced the monster Carol in the live-action adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s children’s book Where the Wild Things Are and produced a variety of documentaries and features.

Before his death, the actor completed the films Enough Said (2013) and Not Fade Away (2012), which were both released posthumously.

James died in 2013 at the age of 51 from a heart attack while traveling with family in Rome.

Credit: Original article published here.

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