Los Angeles, Oct 3 (IANS) Singer Steven Van Zandt was “banned” from playing Tony Soprano on screen because TV executives didn’t think a first-time actor was up for the challenge.
The rocker, who portrayed Silvio Dante in ‘The Sopranos’, was originally considered for the show’s lead before James Gandolfini was roped in, and he says the officials refused to cast him because he was a newcomer to the world of acting, reports aceshowbiz.com.
Van Zandt: “(They were like), ‘Are you out of your mind?'” the guitarist tells Fox News.
He added: “This is the most expensive show we’ll ever do and we can’t have a guy that never acted before. So, wiser heads prevailed, thankfully, and one of the greatest actors ever, Gandolfini, got the gig.”
However, Van Zandt has no regrets.
He played Dante in most of the show’s 86 episodes, and the role landed him the lead in cult Netflix drama ‘Lilyhammer’. He also was honoured with two Screen Actors Guild Awards as part of the ensemble cast for ‘The Sopranos’.
The series is getting a prequel on the big screen and Van Zandt is involved as a consultant in the new project.
“I saw several of the early cuts,” the musician said in a previous interview on SiriusXM.
He added: “He’s been tinkering now with it for a couple of years. So it may be a whole different movie by the time I see it again. He wanted me and (wife and fellow Sopranos actress) Maureen to see it and give him some input. Silvio is in it, just 30 years earlier.”