Steven Van Zandt famously played Silvio Dante in HBO’s The Sopranos, but if creator David Chase had his way, the E Street guitarist would’ve played Tony Soprano.
In a new interview with Cleveland.com to promote his new book Unrequited Infatuations, which comes out tomorrow (September 29), he briefly touches on the potential casting choice saying, “…It was one of those weird things. (Chase) wanted unusual, new faces and he really thought I could do it, and out of pure ignorance naiveté I thought I could do it. Luckily HBO wouldn’t let him (chuckles) so we ended up with one of the greatest actors of all time, Jimmy G (Gandolfini).”
Van Zandt continued, “(Chase) still wanted me in the show and I actually said to David, ‘Listen, I’m feeling pretty guilty about taking an actor’s job here,’ and he said, ‘OK, in that case, I’ll write you in a part that doesn’t exist,’ and (Silvio Dante) was born.”
Fans will get to revisit the world of The Sopranos in the prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, which hits theaters and HBO Max on October 1. The film explores the origin story of Tony Soprano, who is played in the film by Michael Gandolfini, the son of the late James Gandolfini.
Van Zandt said of the prequel, “I saw early cuts of it. It’s just terrific. People are gonna love it. It’s been awhile, but it was great to relive those characters even though they’re, whatever, 10, 15, 20 years younger. It’s fun to revisit that world. And you couldn’t hope for better casting with (Michael Gandolfini), you know what I mean? The guy’s son turns out to be perfect to play his father’s character.”