“He’s my favorite actor of all time in anything, so I just thought it would [have been] great.”
B.J. Novak has revealed he “tried to convince” the late James Gandolfini to change Steve Carell on “The Office.”
While showing on Thursday’s episode of “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen,” “The Office” star was requested by a caller in regards to the report that NBC “wanted” Gandolfini to change Carell because the boss of Dunder Mifflin following the actor’s departure from the present in 2011.
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In response, Novak, 42, — who was additionally a author and government producer on “The Office” — shared that he was really within the assembly by which they tried to get the late “Sopranos” star on board. Novak defined that he “really wanted to work with” Gandolfini, whom he known as his “favorite actor of all time,” and defined why he believes he would have been an “incredible replacement.”
“I was at the meeting with James Gandolfini where we tried to convince him to join the show,” the Novak advised the caller. “And he was a big comedy fan — his favorite movie was ‘The Rocker’ starring Rainn Wilson, so he was shy and intrigued.”
“He’s my favorite actor of all time in anything, so I just thought it would [have been] great because, to me, ‘The Sopranos’ was actually the biggest influence on ‘The Office’ because of the way that comedy and drama and character were all completely indistinguishable,” he added.
“In fact, the way [Carell’s character Michael Scott] will say something very serious but mispronounce a word, I feel, is a direct descendent of the Tony Soprano sense of humor,” Novak defined. “So I thought he would have been an incredible replacement. I really, really wanted to work with him.”
When Andy Cohen requested if Novak felt like Gandolfini “wanted to do it,” Novak stated, “I did. It was interesting, we suggested sort of a white-collar character for him to sort of play against type, and he said something I’ll never forget … He said, ‘I feel as an actor, whoever comes out at 3 a.m., that’s who you should be playing. And at 3 a.m. what comes out of me is a blue-collar guy.’ I thought that was so interesting.”
Actor James Spader in the end changed Carell, 59, who starred as Michael Scott from the present’s premiere in 2005 till the top of Season 7 in 2011.
Back in July, Gandolfini’s “Sopranos” co-stars Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli defined on an episode of their “Talking Sopranos” podcast that Gandolfini had been supplied to be Carell’s substitute on the NBC sitcom, discussing the subject with British “Office” creator and star Ricky Gervais.
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According to Schirripa, HBO — the community on which “The Sopranos” aired from 1997 to 2007 — paid Gandolfini to flip down the provide.
“I think before James Spader and after [Steve] Carell, they offered Jim [Gandolfini], I want to say, $4 million to play him for the season — and HBO paid him $3 million not to do it,” Schirripa claimed, per New York Post. “That’s a fact.”
“Jim [Gandolfini] was going do it because he hadn’t worked, and it was a number of years removed from when the show ended,” Schirripa added.
Schirripa additionally stated Gandolfini “had a deal” with HBO as he was “developing” the crime drama “The Night Of.” While Gandolfini had been set to star, the Emmy winner handed away on the age of 51 in 2013 from a coronary heart assault. Gandolfini was changed by John Turturro and the miniseries went on to air in 2016.