James Gandolfini once got a ‘disturbing’ anonymous phone call that inspired an iconic Sopranos line

James Gandolfini once got a ‘disturbing’ anonymous phone call that inspired an iconic Sopranos line

The late Sopranos actor James Gandolfini once received an anonymous phone call while he was still working on the show that wound up being included in an actual episode.

In a new book called Woke Up This Morning, which is penned by Gandolfini’s co-stars Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa (who played Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby Baccalieri respectively), the pair recount an incident that left the show’s main star unsettled but became a memorable moment in the show’s history.

According to Imperoli: “The story goes like this: Gandolfini got a call in the middle of the night on his cell phone, it was an unknown number. He answers the phone, ‘Hello,’ and the guy on the other line says, ‘Hello,’ and then nobody’s talking.

“The guy doesn’t identify himself. Guy finally says, ‘Listen, you’re a great actor, we like what you’re doing, but you got to know one thing: ‘A don never wears shorts.’ And click, the guy hung up.”

Sign up to our new free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Whoever was calling Gandolfini was clearly impressed with the great man’s talents but wasn’t convinced that his character, the iconic Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mafia boss, should be schlepping around his house in a pair of shorts, which in many ways was part of the Sopranos’ overall presentation of Tony i.e. - he was a different kind of mafia boss.

Continuing the story, Imperioli claims that Gandolfini, despite being a little shaken by what had happened, told the writers of the show and the line about the shorts ended up being included in the actual show.

In season 4, episode 1, entitled For All Debts Public and Private, Carmine Lupertazzi, the longtime boss of the Lupertazzi crime family, tells Tony that his underboss, Johnny Sack, went to a “cook out” at Tony’s house but wasn’t impressed with one element of the party. “A don doesn’t wear shorts,” says Carmine to Tony.

The Sopranos has experienced a renaissance in the past few years as many younger people have discovered the show during the Covid-19 lockdowns. The show was also the subject of a prequel movie, The Many Saints of Newark which was released in September with creator David Chase also reportedly in talks to make a spin-off TV series.

The Conversation (0)