James Gandolfini ‘Scared the Living Sh*t’ Out of ‘Sopranos’ Actor During ‘Intimidating’ Fight Scene

Robert Patrick starred on three episodes of "The Sopranos" and will never forget getting beaten up by Gandolfini.
"The Sopranos"
"The Sopranos"

Robert Patrick was the latest guest on Michael Imperioli and Steven Schirripa’s “Talking Sopranos” podcast (via Uproxx), and he told a memorable story of performing a beatdown scene with the late James Gandolfini during his three-episode arc as Davey Scatino in the show’s second season. Patrick’s character was a gambling addict and childhood friend of Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano.

“I had never met Mr. Gandolfini,” Patrick said. “I am out front on a bench smoking a cigarette with Jimmy after we’d just done this read through. And we’re trying to get to know each other a little bit because we’re supposed to be high school buddies. As the conversation was winding up, I said to him, ‘You know the scene where you come to get your money, you better bring your fucking A-game.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘Oh, I’ll bring my fucking A-game.’”

Patrick said Gandolfini flicked his cigarette at him, making it clear the challenge was accepted. Cut to the filming of the beatdown scene, and Gandolfini most definitely brought his A-game. Before they filmed the confrontation, Gandolfini asked Patrick, “How’s your balls?” Patrick responded, “They’re fine. I’m hungover.”

“[Gandolfini said], ‘Let’s do this fucking scene,'” Patrick said. “And he scared the living shit out of me. I was so intimidated. What a fantastic experience.”

Patrick and Gandolfini filmed the beatdown in just one take. Patrick’s guest role on “The Sopranos” was one of his first major television appearances after voice-only roles on series such as “Superman: The Animated Series” and “The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest.” The actor had already made a name for himself in film with his role in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”

“The Sopranos” is having a bit of a renaissance moment with interest in the HBO mafia-family drama higher than ever thanks to quarantine viewing in 2020 and alumni-hosted podcasts like “Talking Sopranos” and Drea de Matteo’s “Made Women.” There’s also the upcoming release of “The Many Saints of Newark,” a “Sopranos” prequel movie written by franchise creator David Chase and directed by Alan Taylor. The film opens in theaters and HBO Max starting October 1.

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