“The Sopranos” remains one of the most influential and gripping TV dramas ever created. The intricate tales of Tony Soprano and his crime syndicate offered a thrilling glimpse into the organized crime world of New Jersey. This article unveils nine fascinating facts about the acclaimed series.
1. The Permit Scandal
During its production, “The Sopranos” faced opposition from a New Jersey county commissioner who denied them a permit to film in a state park, criticizing the show as a “disgrace to Italians”. Ironically, this commissioner was later dismissed due to corruption charges.
2. Furio’s Artful Eye
Actor Federico Castelluccio, who portrayed Furio, wasn’t just an accomplished actor but also an art connoisseur. Castelluccio spotted a misidentified Renaissance painting and purchased it for $140,000. He later discovered its true worth, which was possibly $10 million more than what he paid.
3. Gandolfini’s Method Acting
To evoke the desired levels of anger in his character, James Gandolfini would place a stone in his shoe during filming. To add to the discomfort, he’d sometimes hit his head against a wall or deprive himself of sleep to capture Tony Soprano’s often irritable demeanor authentically.
4. A Legal Confrontation
The Illinois-based “American Italian Defense Association” filed a lawsuit against the show’s producers in 2001, alleging that the show violated the state’s Constitution’s protection of individual dignity.
5. Strikingly Authentic Portrayal
The show was lauded for its uncanny authenticity. FBI wiretaps revealed that real mobsters would discuss the series, amazed by its accurate representation of their world. They were convinced there was an insider on the show.
6. Inspired by a Real-life Mob Boss
7. Title Misconceptions
HBO initially feared that audiences might mistake “The Sopranos” for a show about opera. They proposed changing the title to “Made in New Jersey” before settling for a smoking gun in the title logo to convey the true nature of the series.
8. Real-Life Locations
Tony Soprano’s house is a real property in North Caldwell, New Jersey. Interestingly, one of the nearby homes was the site of a murder committed by the Unabomber in 1994. Many of the show’s locations, including the pizza place in the intro and the Bada Bing club, are genuine New Jersey locations.
9. James Gandolfini: A Jersey Boy
James Gandolfini, the actor who brilliantly embodied Tony Soprano, was a New Jersey native who tragically died in Italy. Furthermore, Steve Perry of Journey allowed his song “Don’t Stop Believin'” to be used in the final scene of the show, but only after being assured that it wouldn’t be associated with Tony Soprano’s death.