A ‘Sopranos’ screenwriter who was fired from the show reveals how James Gandolfini insisted on taking him out to dinner the night he was let go… “Sopranos” writer Todd Kessler said James Gandolfini took him out for dinner after the staffer was fired from the HBO drama.
Kessler told Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa (who starred on “The Sopranos” as Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri, respectively) in their new oral history of the show that Gandolfini became one of his “dearest friends in life as we worked on the show.”
“Jim called me up after he finished work that day. He knew what had happened, and he said, ‘I’m taking you out,'” Kessler recalled of the day he was fired.
According to the “Damages” creator, while he and Gandolfini were sitting at a restaurant, two women came up to them, and Gandolfini introduced Kessler as a writer on the show that had just gotten fired that day.
“I shrunk, I was so embarrassed,” Kessler remembered. “But they didn’t care. And we talked a little bit, they laughed, and then Jim said to me — and it was really one of those moments that will forever stick with me of Jim — he said: ‘You do not shrink. You have nothing to hang your head about.'”
“‘You hold your head high and know that you did great work,'” Kessler recalled Gandolfini telling him.
Kessler told Imperioli and Schirripa that “getting fired was something that was really painful but formative.”
Elsewhere in Schirripa and Imperioli’s “Woke Up This Morning,” the actors revealed that Gandolfini, who died in 2013, once got an anonymous late-night phone call that went on to inspire an iconic line on “The Sopranos.”
“Woke Up This Morning: A Definitive Oral History of ‘The Sopranos'” is on sale now.
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