James Gandolfini had often spoken about the series of routines he used to put himself through when he played Tony Soprano. Let’s find out more about how those rituals helped him!
‘The Sopranos‘ broadcasted between 1999 and 2007 on HBO and garnered a huge following internationally. It became difficult to picture someone other than James Gandolfini playing the part of Tony Soprano. During his six seasons, Gandolfini earned three Emmys, three Golden Globe Screen Actors, and a lot more for his portrait of the head of the Mafia. After enduring panic attacks that forced him to blackout, his character meets with a doctor, while also dealing with crime and a dysfunctional relationship with his family. For Gandolfini, many people considered it to be one of the best characters. In his personal life, the actor went through a lot to portray the character on screen.
- Gandolfini used the Meisner technique to ace the character
- James Gandolfini sacrificed his sleep for the role of Tony Soprano
- Why did Gandolfini often scold himself in disgust?
GANDOLFINI USED THE MEISNER TECHNIQUE TO ACE THE CHARACTER
In the process of becoming Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini studied the Meisner technique for two years. It encourages students to think less. James Gandolfini used the technique under the direction of Kathryn Gately to focus his anger and incorporate it into his performances.
She kept telling him to go ahead, but he never wanted to. He felt she also told a partner to do something to him, and he did it. Gandolfini destroyed the place. At the end of it, he remembered his hands were bleeding a little bit. Kathryn Gately noticed the bleeding and said: “See, everybody is fine. Nobody is hurt. It is what you have to do. It is what people pay. If you do not want to do it, get off. These are the things you need to express and be able to control.”
JAMES GANDOLFINI SACRIFICED HIS SLEEP FOR THE ROLE OF TONY SOPRANO?
Gandolfini said in an interview that Kathryn Gately helped him reach a new level when he was angry. He believed that many people do that while they are young.
“You are p****d, and you are not sure why because you want to express something, but you do not know what it is.”
In an interview for ‘Inside the Actors Studio’, Gandolfini said he would hit himself on the head or stay up the entire night to get the reaction. “If you are tired, every single thing that somebody does makes you mad. Drink six cups of coffee. Or just walk around with a rock in your shoe. It is silly, but it works.” Gandolfini had often spoken about the series of punishing routines he used to put himself through in the eight years that he played Tony Soprano.
WHY DID GANDOLFINI OFTEN SCOLD HIMSELF IN DISGUST?
Gandolfini was known to stay in character even between takes. He insisted on wearing Tony Soprano’s trademark heavy bathrobe under the hot studio lights. The star actor was also known to lash at himself before shooting a scene or if he forgot any lines. He would scold himself in disgust, curse, smack the back of his own head.
The role was not just impacting Gandolfini physically but also causing problems in his personal life. Gandolfini’s ex-wife Marcy Wudarski alleged that the actor was having an issue with drugs and alcohol throughout the course of their marriage. Gandolfini would frequently punch himself in the face during arguments out of frustration.
In 2013, while on a trip to Italy with his son Michael, ‘The Sopranos’ lead actor died of a heart attack. Just a few hours before his death, James Gandolfini sat down for supper with his son, Michael, who was thirteen years old at the time. Gandolfini started with two rounds of Pina Coladas, plus two shots of rum on the side. After that, he drank two beers. He also had two orders of fried prawns in a row.
According to sources, Gandolfini ordered only fried food. Michael discovered his father in cardiac arrest in their hotel room three hours later. Six men dragged the actor to the hospital, where doctors attempted to save him for around forty minutes. His untimely death shocked the world, especially ‘The Sopranos’ fans.