‘The Sopranos’: One Scene Got the Cast Kicked Out of a Funeral Home

by Maria Hartfield

American crime drama The Sopranos earned its fair share of criticism for its many vulgar scenes. However, there’s one, in particular, that got the cast members into an uncomfortable predicament.

The Sopranos cast ended up getting kicked out of a funeral home filming a scene involving an… intimate moment.

Show producer, Ilene Landress goes into detail about the experience in the book, Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers.

In the book, Landress explains that she noticed something wrong during filming. Her crew came rushing outside of the venue to find her.

“I walk across Sixth Avenue, and I see our trucks in front of this little old conservative Italian funeral home where we were shooting,” Landress said. “Then people start walking out, and the location manager running toward me.”

She continued, “We [were] shooting a funeral scene and the scene was a little lady in the coffin, and Uncle Junior turns to somebody in the receiving line, glances into the coffin, and says, ‘She gave me my first…’ “

You’ll have to use your imagination to fill in the blanks. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t exactly a funeral-appropriate comment. “Well, we got kicked out of the place.”

“You could totally panic or you could see the humor in the whole thing,” Landress said. “I called HBO [saying], ‘I guess we’re done for the day.’”

The book goes into detail about all the behind-the-scenes drama of the hit series. Not to mention the many anecdotes and interviews included.

‘The Sopranos’ Concern Around James Gandolfini

Another story in the book talks about how HBO executives were concerned about lead character James Gandolfini’s diminishing health. Sadly, the star passed away in 2013 at 51-years-old after he suffered an unexpected heart attack.

Jeff Bewkes, the former head at HBO spoke to the book’s author, James Andrew Miller about how many of the series execs feared for Gandolfini’s health.

“We were concerned about Gandolfini staying alive,” said Bewkes in the book. “Occasionally he would go on a bender or a coke binge. [And] we had to stop production.”

Ex-HBO chairman Chris Albrecht says that James Gandolfini oftentimes skipped work out of shame. Additionally, Albrecht divulged that the network had even hosted an intervention at Gandolfini’s apartment in Manhattan, New York.

“The intervention wasn’t my idea. I think [it was] his family’s idea because his sister was there. It [became] a crisis situation,” said Albrecht.

He claims he wasn’t that anxious about Gandolfini’s health at the time.

“I don’t remember us being worried he was going to die, but it [was] a real problem with shooting the show. It became a lack of respect for the other actors as well, so there were sort of problems that bubbled up,” he said.

All six seasons of The Sopranos are now streaming on HBO Max.