HBO offered James Gandolfini millions to turn down The Office role to replace Steve Carell
Today, we all know James Gandolfini for his impeccable performance in HBO’s iconic original series The Sopranos. His ageless performance as Tony Soprano is one that changed television forever, plunging TV into the age of anti-heroes. However, if things had gone differently, Gandolfini could have replaced Steve Carell on The Office! Imagine having spearheaded two of the biggest shows of the past two decades. However, HBO themselves did not let that happen. This was despite the fact that NBC came to Gandolfini with the offer a few years after The Sopranos ended. In fact, HBO offered Gandolfini millions to not replace Carell. Why did this happen?
Ricky Gervais recently appeared on the Talking Sopranos podcast with co-hosts Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli. Since Gervais is famous for his role in The Office (UK version), the show’s name came up during the podcast. There, Imperioli revealed that NBC approached Gandolfini to have him replace Steve Carell’s Michael Scott after his departure in season 7. He said:
You know they talked about having Gandolfini at one point to replace (Steve Carell) did you know?
HBO didn’t want James Gandolfini to work on The Office because they had other plans with him
Then, Schirripa disclosed that NBC offered the role to James Gandolfini before James Spader, with an agreement of four million dollars per season. However, HBO stepped in and instead, paid him three million just to turn down NBC. This was despite the fact that The Sopranos had ended a few years ago. Schirripa said:
I think before James Spader and after Carell, they offered Jim I wanna say four million dollars to play him for the season. And HBO paid him three million not to do it… and Jim was gonna do it because he hadn’t worked and it was a number of years removed from when the show ended.
It turns out that Gandolfini was working with HBO on The Night Of, which is why they couldn’t stand losing Gandolfini to some other network. However, it would have been an incredible sight to see the New Jersey mob boss spend a season at Dunder Mifflin. It was Andy Greene who revealed this information in his book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s. However, any plans of appearing on the sitcom would have come to an end, since the actor tragically passed away in 2013. So, what are your thoughts on seeing Gandolfini in The Office had it happened? Let us know in the comments below.