The cast of The Sopranos remembered their auditions, original reactions to the show, working with late star James Gandolfini and more in a special interview on Today to mark 20th anniversary of the show’s premiere. The interview featured 13 members of The Sopranos cast, including Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Vincent Pastore, Tony Sirico and Steven Van Zandt.
Now widely regarded as one of the most important television shows in history, several members of the cast said they knew right away that the show would be as big as it eventually became. Bracco – who played Tony Soprano’s psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi – remembered, “I watched the pilot and I literally jumped for joy. I said, ‘This is the best thing I’ve seen.'”
Elsewhere, Imperioli reflected on his mortifying audition in front of the show’s famously tight-lipped creator, David Chase, while Van Zandt recalled thinking that no one would ever believe the outrageous, guilt-wielding character of Tony’s mother, Livia (played by the late Nancy Marchand). Until, Van Zandt added, Chase told him that Livia was based on his own mother.
The cast also shared some of their favorite memories of working Gandolfini, who died in 2013. For Falco, who played Tony’s wife Carmela, the scene that stuck out to her as one of their best together was a simple one: “He and I were in a lawn chair in the backyard by the pool. It was a tender, but Sopranos-esque in that it wasn’t loving – it was just a-day-in-the-life of a long-term couple.”
Today also shared the full 45-minute interview with The Sopranos cast, which is available below.