“The Sopranos” has one of the most infamous endings in television history. David Chase’s decision to cut to black while Tony Soprano’s fate hung in the balance remains debated to this day, but what if Tony survived the finale and went on to live a life in the witness protection program? That’s the starting point for a never-before-seen “Sopranos” sequel short film that Tony Soprano actor James Gandolfini and co-star Edie Falco shot for the New York Knicks in order to help the basketball organization lure top player LeBron James.
Falco recently appeared on The Atlantic’s “Shattered: Hope, Heartbreak and the New York Knicks” podcast (via Insider) to reveal the existence of the short film, which she shot with late co-star Gandolfini in 2010. LeBron James became a free agent at that time after his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers expired. All of the top teams in the NBA wanted James, and the Knicks came up with the idea to make a short film with “The Sopranos” stars to help bring James to the Big Apple.
“We got those requests all the time back then and [James] Gandolfini, he did nothing,” Falco said in an interview for the podcast. “And somehow, he agreed to this thing, which I was shocked by. I thought it was a prank when someone said he’s going to do it…[and then] there he was, dressed as Tony. He must have been a bigger basketball fan than I realized.”
The video did not work, as James decided to take his talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat. “I couldn’t believe that it didn’t work,” Falco said. “Not so much because of ‘The Sopranos.’ I just thought, it’s New York. How does anyone say no to New York, for God’s sake? But he did!” The Atlantic attempted to track down the short film as part of the podcast, but the publication achieved no success.
“The Sopranos” ended its run in 2007 after six seasons and 86 episodes. The show won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards across its run. Later this year, Warner Bros. will release “The Sopranos” prequel movie “The Many Saints of Newark” in theaters and on HBO Max. The film, written by series creator David Chase, stars James Gandolfini’s son Michael as younger Tony Soprano. The film premieres September 24.