‘The Sopranos’ producers were concerned about James Gandolfini “staying alive”

"Occasionally he would go on a bender or a coke binge. We had to stop production"

Executives at HBO, the channel that famously housed The Sopranos, have opened up about their past concerns for James Gandolfini’s health.

The show’s star would occasionally “go on a bender” and stop production according to the HBO’s former CEO Jeff Bewkes, who shared his experiences from working on the show in a new book about the network.

“We were concerned about Gandolfini staying alive. Occasionally he would go on a bender or a coke binge. We had to stop production,” he said in Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, as reported by Insider.

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He also added that “it cost a lot of money and was hard on the other actors’ schedules.”

Meanwhile, another former HBO executive, Chris Albrecht, recalled when he and others attempted to have an intervention with The Sopranos‘ star at his apartment.

Lorraine Bracco and James Gandolfini
Lorraine Bracco and James Gandolfini in ‘The Sopranos’. CREDIT: AA Film Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

“I think his family’s idea because his sister was there. It was definitely a crisis situation,” he recalled, before recounting how Gandolfini would go on to storm out of the building after realising what was happening, and daring Albrecht to fire him from the show.

Meanwhile, a former writer from the show has revealed that James Gandolfini took him out for dinner after he was fired from the HBO series.

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Speaking to Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa for their new oral history on the drama, titled Woke Up This Morning (via Insider), Todd Kessler recalled how Gandolfini contacted him when he was dropped from the show by creator David Chase after season three.

“Jim called me up after he finished work that day,” Kessler said of the day he was fired. “He knew what had happened, and he said, ‘I’m taking you out.’”

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