Lin-Manuel Miranda has happy memories of his stint on “The Sopranos”.
Now, the 42-year-old Tony winner is opening up about working on the HBO crime drama with the late James Gandolfini.
In Judd Apatow’s latest book, “Sicker in the Head: More Conversations About Life and Comedy,” Miranda says of Gandolfini, “He was never locked up in this trailer.”
“He [Gandolfini] was just out, and people would talk to him,” Miranda said, praising the actor’s demeanor.
The Pulitzer Prize winner was a struggling actor at the time, and he had a brief role as a bellhop in the season six episode “Remember When,” which was shot in 2007.
Back in the day, he explained, the minor position was scary.
Miranda told Judd Apatow, “I went on lots of voiceover auditions and acting auditions, and the only thing I booked was ‘The Sopranos,’ as a bellboy; I say, ‘I don’t know’ twice,” Miranda said. “I’m so green you can see me look down at my mark. Watch it if you get a chance, because now people are like ‘Lin-Manuel’s cameo on ‘The Sopranos’!’ It wasn’t a cameo. I wasn’t even in the union yet.”
Miranda also revealed that he was “scared s – – tless” about his little role on the program, but that James Gandolfini, the show’s star, helped him relax.
Miranda said, “My one story about Gandolfini was that he stayed and did his sides even though it was the end of the night. He had no need to do that, He stayed and did the scene for the scared s***less Puerto Rican kid in the bellhop outfit.”
Miranda isn’t the only one who remembers the actor’s kind demeanor on set.
During a nude scene switch-up, series guest star Peter Riegert informed cast regulars Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli on their “Talking Sopranos” podcast that Gandolfini stepped in to defend Riegert.
“I was going to be naked. As far as I’m concerned, I would have liked a heads-up on that,” Riegert remarked of a Season 4 script rewrite in which Tony (Gandolfini) beats his character in the shower.
“I didn’t know whether I was going to get fired or not, but Jimmy [Gandolfini] said to me, ‘Whatever you decide to do, I promise you I will have your back,’” Riegert explained. “The thing was, at that table read, I didn’t realize that Jim recognized, on my face, that there was an actor in trouble. And he made it so it was my choice.”
In the landmark HBO crime thriller, Lady Gaga also made a background appearance. “I didn’t know how to listen in a scene!” the House of Gucci star said of her performance on the show last year. “I was supposed to laugh, and it was sort of like, cue, laugh…. I see it and I go, ‘oh, that’s not a real laugh!’
“When I look back on that scene I can see exactly what I did wrong in that scene,” she added.