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James Gandolfini Divided His Big Pay Rise Among The Sopranos Cast

Anish Vij

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James Gandolfini Divided His Big Pay Rise Among The Sopranos Cast

James Gandolfini famously divided his big pay rise among The Sopranos cast but it might not be for the reason we think.

Regarded as one of the best shows of all-time, the mafia crime drama ran for six seasons from 1999 to 2007.

Star of the show, Gandolfini, who sadly died of a heart attack in 2013 at the age of 51, had once reportedly given away gave away $33,000 (£25,000) to each of the main cast.

According to Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, the Tony Soprano actor wanted a salary bump for playing the leading role.

Regarded as one of the best shows of all-time, the mafia crime drama ran for six seasons from 1999 to 2007. Credit: Warner Bros.
Regarded as one of the best shows of all-time, the mafia crime drama ran for six seasons from 1999 to 2007. Credit: Warner Bros.

After initially being on a $5 million (£3.7 million) salary during the first two seasons, Gandolfini managed to negotiate two times that amount by season three.

Although, it was claimed that the actor and his team were not satisfied and as the seasons went by they requested $20 million (£15 million) salary bump per season.

Gandolfini's legal team then filed a breach of contract lawsuit against HBO, in which he allegedly requested the termination of his contract in order to sway the negotiations his way.

HBO then countersued for a whopping $100 million (£75 million) in charges.

Long story short, the book claims that the actor wasn't willing to put the show's existence at risk and ruin the relationship/livelihoods of his fellow cast mates.

He eventually accepted a final offer of $13 million (£9.7 million) and wrote a check for $33,000 (£25,000) to each of the main cast members to make up for what happened.

Stevie Van Zandt played mob consigliere and strip club owner Silvio Dante. Credit: Warner Bros.
Stevie Van Zandt played mob consigliere and strip club owner Silvio Dante. Credit: Warner Bros.

However, co-star Stevie Van Zandt has come out on Twitter and given a different side to the story.

On Twitter, he wrote: "It wasn’t to settle a salary dispute.

"He had gotten a big raise and just divided it amongst the cast. He was one of a kind."

Van Zandt played mob consigliere and strip club owner Silvio Dante.

At the time, he had no prior acting experience and the surprising casting choice was made by series creator David Chase.

In fact, Van Zandt actually auditioned for the role of Tony Soprano, but HBO felt that the role should go to an experienced actor.

Despite missing out on the lead role, Van Zandt went on to win two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The series won a multitude of awards, including Peabody Awards for its first two seasons, 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, and five Golden Globe Awards.

Featured Image Credit: HBO

Topics: TV and Film

Anish Vij
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