Drunk James Gandolfini chained to a tree on ‘Sopranos’ set

“Sometimes it’s important to give people the illusion of being in control,” Tony Soprano once said, even if that means being chained to a tree.

Renewed interest in HBO’s iconic mob series “The Sopranos” has surely engulfed fans with their upcoming prequel film “The Many Saints of Newark” and the series hitting HBO’s streaming service.

Stars of the show are now sharing stories from the set and reminiscing about the late great Tony Soprano himself, James Gandolfini.

Steve Schirripa, who portrayed Bobby Baccalieri, recently spoke about a moment during filming where Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli got so drunk before shooting a scene that they had to be chained to a tree.

“On the break, while they set up the lights, Michael and Jim [Gandolfini] drank a bottle of Wild Turkey,” Schirripa told Insider. “They were so drunk that they had to chain their legs to a tree, because they were afraid they were going to fall off the cliff,” Schirripa added.

The scene in question was the moment in Season 4, where Tony and Christopher Moltisanti (played by Imperioli) threw the body of Ralphie Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) off a cliff.

Another one of the drama’s stars, Robert Patrick, sat down with Imperioli and Schirripa on their podcast “Talking Sopranos” last month. The trio discussed Patrick’s first day on set where he tried to jokingly provoke Gandolfini about coming to work hungover.

Imperioli and Gandolfini got so drunk during a Season 4 episode that they had to be physically restrained.

“I had never met Mr. Gandolfini,” Patrick said. “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.”

He continued, “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 f – – king A-game.’ And he looked at me said, ‘Oh, I’ll bring my f – – king A-game.’” Before walking off, Gandolfini threw his cigarette at Patrick.

When the two actors saw each other again “[Gandolfini] came in and said, ‘How’s your balls?’ I said, ‘They’re fine.’ And he said, ‘I’m hungover, let’s do this f – – king scene,’” Patrick said.

“And man, it was one take. And he scared the living s – – t out of me. I was so intimidated. What a fantastic experience,” he said.

 Michael Imperioli and James Gandolfini
Steve Schirripa discussed a moment during filming where “Sopranos” stars Michael Imperioli and James Gandolfini got a little too tipsy.
Patrick McMullan via Getty Image

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