Northport-raised Edie Falco, who earned three Emmy Awards for playing mob wife Carmela Soprano on HBO's acclaimed crime drama "The Sopranos," says the untimely death of star James Gandolfini in 2013 at age 51 has made her unable to see him on-screen in their show.
"It's sad. Just incredibly sad," Falco, 58, who earned a fourth Emmy for her starring role in Showtime's "Nurse Jackie," told The Irish Times in an interview early this month.
With her close friend Aida Turturro, who played older sister Janice Soprano to Gandolfini's Tony Soprano, Falco recently had tried watching the run of the 1999-2007 series, which she said neither had seen. But after four episodes, they stopped.
"It was too fraught, and a big part of that is Jim," Falco told the Dublin-based newspaper. "People die and you move on, then you see them on-screen, and it is too shocking. And Jimmy and I were kids then. Neither of us knew what we were doing, but we worked in the same way, not preparing, but like kids in a sandbox. Aida and I watched a few episodes and I said, 'This is killing me.' "
She recalled that when on set on "The Sopranos," Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack in Rome while on vacation, feasted on the hearty food his fictional character would eat. Falco and other actors on the show, she said, had "learned tricks so it looked like we were eating, but we weren't. But Jim ate in every ... take, and he ate between takes."
In particular, she remembered, "There was one scene we were shooting where he was eating a bowl of ice cream, and in every take he ate and would then refill the bowl, and then at one point I realized he's not really listening to me — he had gone into a sugar coma! We had to stop and shoot the rest of the scene another day. He was like a 5-year-old: 'The ice cream is good. I like it!' I was, like, 'You gotta stop, you're gonna get sick!' "
And she recalled how deeply Gandolfini fell into his character. "I adored Jimmy, but we didn't hang out a lot," Falco said. "So when I looked in his face he wasn't Jim, he was Tony."