In a recent episode of the “Talking Sopranos” podcast, hosts Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa — who starred on “The Sopranos” as Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby Baccalieri, respectively — asked “Office” creator Ricky Gervais about the rumor that Gandolfini was offered a spot on “The Office.
- “You know, they talked about having Gandolfini at one point replace him (Steve Carell), did you know that?” Imperioli said, according to Deadline.
Per Deadline, NBC offered Gandolfini the role to replace Carrell, who decided to leave the show after its seventh season. Gandolfini would have made $4 million for the role.
- But, HBO reportedly paid Gandolfini $3 million to turn down the role.
- “So they paid him that to keep the legacy of The Sopranos pure?” Gervais asked, according to ComicBook.com.
Andy Greene’s book “The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s” revealed that Carrell, who played Michael Scott, didn’t want to leave the show at all, as I explained for the Deseret News.
Sound mixer Brian Wittle told Greene that Carrell decided to leave after NBC didn’t have a major reaction to him deciding to leave.
Collider explained the scenario from the book:
- “He said he didn’t get any kind of response from them,” Wittle said of Carrell’s reaction. “When he realized he didn’t get any kind of response from them, he thought, ‘Oh, maybe they don’t really care if I leave. Maybe I should go do other things.’ So I think that made it easier, because when the news broke that he was considering it, the people that are in charge of keeping him there didn’t make a big effort to do so until afterward.”