James Gandolfini 'threatened to quit' The Sopranos

James Gandolfini "threatened to quit" hit TV show The Sopranos, it's been revealed in a new documentary.

The Sopranos creator, David Chase, told how Gandolfini "had to go places that were destructive to him, and painful for him," to play Tony Soprano, in a new documentary, Wise Guy: David Chase and the Sopranos.

The actor allegedly "threatened to quit the show nearly every other day," including when there was an attempted intervention to stop his frequent drinking.

The head of HBO Chris Albrecht said that when he tried to convince Gandolfini to go to rehab, the actor yelled, "Fire me!" and walked out.

As part of his destructive behaviour, Gandolfini reportedly deprived himself of sleep for days, walked around with rocks in his shoes "to get angry," and bruised his hands by hitting the inside of his character's car.

Edie Falco, who played his on-screen wife, said the actor was "a very good, kindhearted man," but that the role "may have taken a toll on him."

The Sopranos production team have previously spoken about how they were worried that the actor would die while the show was being filmed.

"Occasionally he would go on a bender or a coke binge. We had to stop production," former Time Warner chairman and CEO head Jeff Bewkes said in the 2021 book, Tinderbox: HBO's Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontier.

Gandolfini starred in The Sopranos from 1999 until the show ended in 2007. He died in 2013 from a heart attack, aged 51.

The new documentary premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival last week, and is due to be released on Max later this year.