HBO book excerpt reveals James Gandolfini’s darker sides

I look forward to James Andrew Miller’s book on HBO and how it changed television. Entitled “Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers,” it’s due out on November 23.

Waiting for, Vulture just published a fascinating excerpt focusing on James Gandolfini. Her performance in the series has been exceptional and she has aged beautifully. As “The Sopranos” gained fans and brought people into the world of pay-cable for the first time, his face was, in many ways, the face of HBO and a new era.

But for Gandolfini, writes Miller, “the road to glory” was “cratered with potholes.” He has had negative reactions to the scripts at times, including a scene in which Tony masturbates in a gas station washroom during his affair with Julianna Margulies’ real estate agent. After a “temper tantrum” he made the scene, but it was never part of the show. There was a financial standoff between Gandolfini and HBO in 2003 that lasted three months; the actor and his team knew he was indispensable. Obviously, Miller is revealing darker sides of the star, but, at least in the clip, he doesn’t appear like a tabloid.

“Jimmy had suffered from alcohol and drug abuse – those comforting twin companions of success and failure – for years,” Miller writes, “and the stress of being the lead in one smash hit was overwhelming. ” There have been a few situations where Gandolfini just did not show up, including an appearance as the presenter for the Golden Globes in 2005. “Gandolfini was lying on the floor outside the Beverly Hilton where the ceremony took place. place, making snow angels on the lawn “, Miller writes” so drunk that he did not seem to notice the lack of snow “. Michael Imperioli replaced him. Also, there was an attempted intervention in 2003, but Gandolfini fled.

The excerpt also includes an oral history from those years, along with commentary from those who knew him, including Imperioli, Edie Falco, and Tony Kushner.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.

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