Michael Imperioli, who played Tony’s troubled but ultimately loveable nephew Christopher Moltisanti, thought he’d be fired on his first day of filming on The Sopranos, widely considered one of the best TV series of all time. Imperioli lied about being able to drive – kinda crucial considering he was playing Tony’s driver – and in his first scene, managed to smash up a Lexus.
“I didn’t tell them that (I couldn’t drive) because I wanted the job and in one of the takes I actually back up into a tree and smashed up the back of the Lexus,” he told Page Six in 2020. “We all jumped forward, the air bags came out, smoke, it was a big disaster and I was thinking (Gandolfini) must be thinking I’m an idiot, this is going to be a disaster, they’re going to fire me.
“And he just looks at me and starts cracking up laughing and we both just broke down hysterically and I thought, ‘OK this is going to be a good ride.’ That was a bonding moment.”
The Sopranos is one of the older shows that saw a resurgence in popularity since the pandemic began, with people having more time to catch up on TV. In 2020, Imperioli started hosting a podcast with his Sopranos castmate Steve Schirripa, who played Bobby Baccalieri, where the duo break down every episode of the long running drama.
Before Imperioli even got to his first day on set, he thought he’d blown the audition. He told Vanity Fair in 2012; “Anything I could remotely be right for, I would get an audition for. They brought me in, and I met with David (Chase). I thought he hated my audition, because David’s a poker-faced guy. He kept giving me notes and giving me direction, and I walked out of there, and I was like, I blew that one.”
The Sopranos prequel movie, The Many Saints of Newark, was released in 2021 to mostly positive, but some mixed reactions from fans of the show. James Gandolfini’s son Michael played young Tony in the movie and Michael Imperioli appeared as his Sopranos character.
If you’re loved all of the family drama in The Sopranos, check out our guide the best drama movies.