The Sopranos is, of course, one of the best TV series of all time. The crime drama series began back in 1999 and over the course of 6 seasons (and 86 episodes) it told the story of a mob family in New Jersey, focussing in on James Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano as he attempts to balance his commitment to his family (and their safety) with being the leader of a mob organisation.
But, of course, you know that. The Soprano’s has ingrained itself as a cultural touchtone, sitting alongside – and arguably above – the likes of The Wire and Breaking Bad as the definitive crime thriller series. Partly, that’s due to how grounded The Sopranos is, with a believable portrayal of life in the Italian-American mafia.
However, you might be surprised at just how real the series actually is, as the cast members got crucial important advice from real-life mobsters. Speaking on the Late Night with Seth Meyers show, Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli (Bobby Bacala and Christopher Moltisanti respectively) explained their experiences.
Steve Schirripa kicked things off, saying, “I lived in Little Italy… it was a Monday morning, the show had aired Sunday night. I got my dirty laundry, I’m going down to the dry cleaners. I’m walking down the block and a guy stops and goes, ‘Ey, ey Steve! Look, you know I love his show right? But anybody whoever whacked anyone, that’s not how you do it!”
Micahel Imperioli continued, “I had a similar experience. We were at a table… and the guy comes over and said ‘You know, I can show you the real way how to strangle someone with piano wire.’ And luckily he waited till, dessert to tell us that.”
Imperioli then shared a terrifying phone call received by Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini, himself. “Gandolfini got a call in the middle of the night, anonymous call, he answers the phone and the guy says, ‘Listen, we like what you’re doing, you’re doing a good job, but know one thing: a Don never wears shorts.’ Click. That’s true.”
Each of the experiences go to show just how accurate The Sopranos was, given the commentary and advice the actors received from real mob members. It’s all genuinely quite scary, really.
For some more relaxing entertainment, check out our guide to the best comedy series and the best Netflix series.