In a new interview withThe Guardian, Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti in the show, recalls having to drive a car on set for one of his first scenes, but not admitting to director David Chase that he couldn’t drive.
In the scene, Imperioli was asked to reverse a car down a pavement, with James Gandolfini in the passenger seat.
“I thought, how hard could it be – you’re on a set, they’re gonna block off traffic,” he told the publication.
While he managed to get away with the first shoot of the scene, they asked him to repeat the moment at double the speed and distance. Imperioli ended up crashing the car.
“Boom, right into one of the trees, airbags go off,” he recalls. “Jim’s [Gandolfini’s] head snaps back, smoke everywhere. I’m thinking this guy is the star of the show, they’re gonna fire me.”
Imperioli wrote off the car completely – a $60,000 Lexus – but Gandolfini found the moment hilarious, something Imperioli says was the start of their close friendship.
The Sopranos ended in 2007 with a finale that continues to be meticulously analysed to this day. It depicts a seemingly ordinary restaurant scene between Tony and his family, which ends with the screen cutting abruptly to black.
Following the finale’s broadcast, many assumed this ending symbolised the show’s protagonist being killed.
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While being interviewed for The Sopranos Sessions, a book celebrating the HBO series, creator Chase referred to the moment as a “death scene”. When co-author Matt Zoller Seitz said: “You realise, of course, that you just referred to that as a death scene,” Chase replied: “F*** you guys.”
Chase was asked about this exchange in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, where he explained why his choice of words hadn’t been a “slip of the tongue”.
“Because the scene I had in my mind was not that scene,” he told the outlet. “Nor did I think of cutting to black.”
Chase continued: “I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car. At the beginning of every show, he came from New York into New Jersey, and the last scene could be him coming from New Jersey back into New York for a meeting at which he was going to be killed.”
Elsewhere in The Sopranos Sessions, Chase told Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall: “[The point was] that he could have been whacked in the diner. We all could be whacked in a diner. That was the point of the scene.”