Michael Imperioli slams Hollywood’s ‘unimaginative’ casting system: ‘People thought I was a gangster after Sopranos!’
Michael Imperioli has had a dig at Hollywood’s “unimaginative” casting system.
‘The Sopranos’ actor, 57, played Christopher Moltisanti on the show for its entire run from 1999 to 2007, but said when it ended his agent’s phone was not ringing with other acting offers as people thought he was a “gangster” like his character.
He told The Sunday Times newspaper if he was flooded with offers of more work: “Not really. I think at the time a lot of people thought I was that character.
“Kind of like ‘Jersey Shore’ and they’d found us all at the mall and put us on the show. Hollywood is very unimaginative when it comes to casting.”
Michael got four Emmy nominations and one win by playing heroin-addicted gangster ‘Chrissy’, but his post-‘Sopranos’ career has consisted of a part in ‘The Lovely Bones’, appearances on ‘Law and Order’ and a string of independent films, as well as his recent turn in the second series of ‘The White Lotus’.
Michael’s big break came in Martin Scorsese’s gangster classic ‘Goodfellas’ and the actor said he decided not to “fanboy” over Robert De Niro when he met him on set, and instead showed off his method acting to the actor, who played mob assassin Jimmy Conway.
He said “the last thing” De Niro would want “is some fanboy fawning over him, like, ‘I love you Mr De Niro, in ‘Taxi Driver’ I loved that scene you did’”.
Michael added: “So instead the first time he walked on set I walked up to him and said, ‘Jimmy, what do you want to drink?’ And he said, ‘A shot of scotch and a glass of water.’
“I think he appreciated it.”
Michael added he also suggested changes to the director during the film’s making, including turning the bar around in the scene where his character Spider gets shot so he would be facing the gangsters playing cards.
He said: “Scorsese said, ‘That’s a good idea, let the kid do that!’”