James Gandolfini, Michael Imperioli Chained to a Tree for ‘Sopranos’ Scene Because They Were Drunk

  • James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli once got so drunk before filming they had to be chained up.
  • Their “Sopranos” costar Steve Schirripa opened up about the behind-the-scenes moment to Insider.
  • Schirripa said the actors had shared a bottle of whiskey before filming the season four scene.

James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli once got so drunk before filming a cliffside scene on “The Sopranos” that they had to be chained to a tree, their costar Steve Schirripa recalled. 

In a recent interview with Insider to promote his Sir Kensington’s partnership, Schirripa revealed that the two actors had shared whiskey before shooting the scene in season four, where (spoilers) Tony Soprano (Gandolfini) and Christopher Moltisanti (Imperioli) throw the body of murdered capo Ralphie Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) off a cliff. 

“On the break, while they set up the lights, Michael and Jim [Gandolfini] drank a bottle of Wild Turkey,” Schirripa recalled.

“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,” he added. 

James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli were chained to a tree while filming a cliffside scene on "The Sopranos."

James Gandolfini and Michael Imperioli were chained to a tree while filming a cliffside scene on “The Sopranos.”

HBO


Imperioli and Schirripa previously talked about this behind-the-scenes moment in a March episode of their podcast, “Talking Sopranos.”

During the scene Schirripa mentioned, which occurs in the season four episode “Whoever Did This,” Tony and Christopher travel to upstate New York to dispose of Ralphie’s body after Tony strangles him to death.

The mob boss suspected Ralph of setting a stable fire that led to the death of Tony’s prized race horse, Pie-O-My, and confronted him about it shortly before killing him. He then calls Christopher to come and help him dismember the body, with the two throwing Ralph’s remains into a quarry that night. 

Schirripa also teased his upcoming book with Imperioli during the interview with Insider.

Titled “Woke Up This Morning,” the book is billed as the “definitive” oral history of the legendary HBO drama, and will be released in early November. According to Schirripa, the upcoming book is a must-have for “Sopranos” fans. 

Also of note for “Sopranos” fans is the upcoming feature film “The Many Saints of Newark,” written by the show’s creator, David Chase. Set in Newark in the ’60s and ’70s, the film stars Gandolfini’s son Michael as a young Tony Soprano coming of age in New Jersey. 

Ray Liotta, Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Corey Stoll, and Alessandro Nivola also star in “The Many Saints of Newark.” You can watch the trailer below. 

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