In the wake of James Gandolfini’s sudden death this week, his performance for six seasons as Tony Soprano is being hailed for its intense quality and influence on other actors in shows that came after “The Sopranos.”
But to achieve that level of quality required a fortitude and dedication that took its toll on the actor, says journalist Brett Martin, who interviewed Gandolfini and “Sopranos” creator David Chase about the making of “The Sopranos.”
The results of those interviews can be read in a story in the current issue of GQ magazine — a story written and published before the actor died in Italy at age 51. (Read the GQ story here.)
But with such a timely article on newsstands now, Martin was in demand this week for TV interviews to talk about Gandolfini. And on NBC’s “Today” show, Martin talked about what Gandolfini’s performance as Tony Soprano meant to TV history, and how the demands of the role wreaked havoc on the actor’s psyche.
Among the writer’s revelations: Playing Tony Soprano day in and day out was such an effort that Gandolfini would sometimes disappear for days, leaving the entire production in the lurch.