“The Sopranos” has its fair share of raunchy scenes sprinkled throughout its six-season run.
But there was one moment, in particular, that got the cast and crew into a heated situation. The show’s cast was kicked out of a funeral home during filming that involved a line about a blow job.
Former producer Ilene Landress divulged secrets of the episode in the book, “Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers.”
Landress explained to author James Andrew Miller that the scene in question was being filmed in New York City. She noticed something was wrong when her crew came rushing outside of the venue to find her.
“I walk across Sixth Avenue, and I see our trucks in front of this little old conservative Italian funeral home where we were shooting,” Landress said. “Then people start walking out, and the location manager running toward me.”
She recalled, “We were shooting a funeral scene and the scene was a little lady in the coffin and Uncle Junior turns to somebody in the receiving line, glances into the coffin and says, ‘She gave me my first blow job.’ Well, we got kicked out of the place.”
“You could totally panic or you could see the humor in the whole thing,” Landress said. “I called HBO and told them, ‘I guess we’re done for the day.’”
The tell-all book dives deep into the behind-the-scenes secrets of the HBO network and is full of anecdotes and interviews from the iconic mob drama.
One story featured in the book was how HBO executives were worried about star James Gandolfini’s health. The actor passed away in 2013 after suffering a heart attack at 51.
Former HBO head Jeff Bewkes spoke to Miller and how the execs feared Gandolfini’s death. “We were concerned about Gandolfini staying alive. Occasionally he would go on a bender or a coke binge. We had to stop production,” Bewkes said in the book.
Ex-HBO chairman Chris Albrecht also chimed in, saying that Gandolfini skipped work because he “thought Jimmy was embarrassed.” Albrecht added that the network hosted an intervention at his apartment in Manhattan. “The intervention wasn’t my idea. I think [it was] his family’s idea because his sister was there. It was definitely a crisis situation,” Albrecht said.
However, he claimed he wasn’t all that anxious about Gandolfini’s health at the time.
“I don’t remember us being worried he was going to die, but it became a real problem with shooting the show . . . It became a lack of respect for the other actors as well, so there were sort of problems that bubbled up,” he said.