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10+ 'Sopranos' Behind-The-Scenes Secrets Fans Didn't Know

Jordan Claes 18 Sep 2020

There are a lot of names that get tossed around in the conversation for the best TV show of all time. For me, that show is The Sopranos.

This HBO mob drama showed audiences the human side of organized crime. Get ready to head back to Jersey when you check out these 10+ The Sopranos behind-the-scenes secrets that fans didn't know!

1. David Chase was inspired by the great Mafia movies of old.

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David has fond memories of watching The Untouchables with his father (talk about a cool parent!).

He goes on to say that his early childhood exposure to the subject helped him gain a natural intuition.

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2. Ray Liotta turned down an offer to appear on The Sopranos.

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Ray doesn't go so far as to say which role it was. He only says that he wasn't prepared to share the spotlight with James Gandolfini.

As Ray put it, his ego wouldn't have been able to take it.

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3. The show produced some incredibly talented writers and creators.

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You might not recognize the name Matthew Weiner right away, but I bet you've seen a little show of his called Mad Men.

Terence Winter also went on to create Boardwalk Empire.

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4. Even the cast felt that the ending was too ambiguous.

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I hold firm when I say that The Sopranos is one of, if not the greatest televisions shows ever made. But I don't pretend that the ending is incredibly divisive.

Even Lorraine Bracco went so far as to say that she felt it was discriminating.

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5. The cast knew how to rock!

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Unless you're a Bruce Springsteen fan, you may have missed a member of the E-Street Band in Tony Soprano's crew.

Silvio Dante is played by Steve Van Zandt in real-life. Steve has been Bruce's guitarist for more than 45 years.

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6. David Chase modeled Dr. Melfi after his own therapist.

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David's therapist's name was Lorraine Kaufman and she also possessed the same astute BS detector as Dr. Melfi.

After the show's fourth season, Chase's therapist wrote a complete breakdown of each character on The Sopranos.

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7. Steve Van Zandt was David Chase's first choice to play Tony.

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The network had other plans in mind. They were skeptical about giving the reigns of their show to a rocker with absolutely no acting experience.

So David wrote the part of Silvio specifically for Van Zandt.

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8. Creator David Chase only directed two episodes.

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David Chase left his mark in the pilot episode, as well as the series finale.

The bulk of the directing work fell to Tim Van Patten, who you may recognize from his work on Game of Thrones.

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9. Michael Imperioli thought he blew his audition.

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The way that Michael tells the story, David Chase has one heck of a poker face. Michael wasn't able to make heads or tails from his reaction.

He left the room in utter defeat and was shocked when he received the call congratulating him.

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10. Livia was supposed to die at the end of season 1.

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Tony's mother was one of the best villains of the entire series. Originally, she was supposed to meet her end when Tony attempts to smother her in her hospital bed.

In real-life, actress Nancy Marchand was dying of cancer and she begged David Chase to allow her to keep working.

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David obliged and Livia's role was expanded. She passed away from lung cancer one day before her 72nd birthday.

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The problem was that Livia didn't complete all of her scenes!

The production team was forced to use very new technology (for the time) to super-impose Livia's head onto another actor.

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12. Steve Van Zandt wrote an auto biography of Silvio Dante to help him better understand the character.

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It was Steve's first time acting and he really wanted to better understand the character he was portraying. He wrote a detailed biography of the character and outlined the complicated friendship he had with Tony.

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11. There's a Goodfellas connection that you may have missed.

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If you're a fan of Martin Scorsese's masterpiece then you probably recognize some familiar faces.

A total of six regular recurring characters from The Sopranos appeared in Goodfellas and eleven cameo guests.

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13. Drea de Matteo had a serious crush on one of her cast mates.

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Of course, it was James Gandolfini aka Tony Soprano! According to Drea, she wasn't the only one who was smitten.

During an interview with Vanity Fair, Drea admitted "We were all in love with him. He’s the sexiest TV guy ever, in my opinion."

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14. Tony Sirico really was a criminal.

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Long before he was ever Paulie 'Walnuts', Tony Sirico had a criminal record as long as your arm.

Between 1950-1970, he was arrested 28 times. The crimes ranged from assault to armed robbery.

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