HBO Paid James Gandolfini $3 Million to Turn Down a Role in ‘The Office’

In a recent episode of the Talking Sopranos podcast, co-hosts Michael Imerioli and Steve Schirripa, who played Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos respectively, revealed that James Gandolfini was paid $3 million to turn down the new boss role in The Office

Ricky Gervais, the creator of the original UK version of The Office, was a guest on the Sopranos podcast when he shared this bit of trivia. “You know, they talked about having Gandolfini at one point replace him [Steve Carell], did you know that?” he said.

Following Steve Carell’s time as the beloved and hilarious boss of a paper company, NBC was searching for a successor to take his place. According to Schirripa, NBC offered Gandolfini $4 million dollars to play him for a season, and HBO paid him $3 not to do it. 

“Jim was going to do it because he hadn’t worked and it was a number of years removed from when the show ended,” Schirripa added. 

“So they paid him that to keep the legacy of The Sopranos pure?” Gervais joked. You can catch the full episode below, and this conversation starts at around the 40 minutes mark. 

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The Sopranos has been widely believed to be one of best show of all time, so it wouldn’t be a total surprise if executives didn’t want their star joining another top-ranking show. Plus, The Office would have been a much different story with an Italian mob boss at its helm. But we all know Michael Scott would have loved to have been replaced by the Tony Soprano.

In other Sopranos news, the official trailer for the prequel film The Mary Saints of Newark was recently released. The film will focus on the formative years of Tony Soprano and premieres Oct. 1 on HBO Max and in theaters.

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