James Gandolfini filmed the scene in The Sopranos, where Tony Soprano beats up Davey Scatino, in just one take. The HBO crime drama, created by David Chase, ran for six seasons premiering in 1999, starring Gandolfini as Tony Soprano as a depressed mobster attending therapy. The series also starred Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese, Steven Van Zandt, and Tony Sirico. The Sopranos is widely regarded as one of the best television series in history, winning multiple awards for Gandolfini, Falco, and the show itself for creator David Chase.
The series continues to be discovered by newer audiences and remains one of the most talked-about shows, namely because of its speculative series finale in 2007, which ended abruptly by immediately cutting to black, leaving the audience uncertain about the fate of Tony and his family. Since the end of the series, many fans and the creative people from the show have went back analyzing the series and sharing stories that are unknown to the public. Most notably are Imperioli and Steve Schirripa, who played Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby Baccalierri, both of whom have developed their own podcast Talking Sopranos, where they dissect every episode of the show and have regular guests each episode.
Per THR, Imperioli and Schirripa talked with actor Robert Patrick on Talking Sopranos, who commented that Gandolfini filmed a scene they had together in one take. Patrick portrayed Davey Scatino during the show’s second season, who was a childhood friend of Tony. During the scene in the season 2 episode, “The Happy Wanderer,” Tony beats up Scatino after he failed to pay back $45,000 due to his compulsive gambling on a poker game. Patrick talks about what happened behind the scenes between him and Gandolfini leading up to filming. Read what he said below:
“I had never met Mr. Gandolfini. I am out front on a bench smoking a cigarette with Jimmy after we’d just done this read through. And we’re trying to get to know each other a little bit because we’re supposed to be high school buddies. As the conversation was winding up, I said to him, ‘You know the scene where you come to get your money, you better bring your fucking A-game.’ And he looked at me said, ‘Oh, I’ll bring my fucking A-game.’ [The next day] he said, ‘I’m hungover, let’s do this fucking scene’. And man, it was one take. And he scared the living shit out of me. I was so intimidated. What a fantastic experience.”
It is great and interesting to go inside what goes on behind the production of the show and the preparation that happens before shooting a scene. It clearly proves that both Patrick and Gandolfini are able to adapt very easily to each other to create a perfect take for the scene and support each other to generate and ensure the best outcome. The collaboration is one of the many reasons for the success of The Sopranos and why so many people connect to it.
The story and the podcast shines a light on the impact of The Sopranos and how many people admire the series. Fans who miss the show can look forward to the upcoming prequel movie, The Many Saints of Newark, on October 1, written by Chase and featuring Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini, as a young Tony Soprano, exploring the reign of the DiMeo crime family and the rise of young gangsters. Overall, The Sopranos has left an indelible mark on television history and many will continue to be intrigued by anything that correlates with the making of the show.