Magazine article Variety

Supremely Talented

Magazine article Variety

Supremely Talented

Article excerpt

HBO alum Chris Albrecht recalls Sopranos star's compelling contradictions

The first time I met him we were in the HBO screening room in Century City. We tested three actors (for Tony Soprano): Jimmy, Steven Van Zandt and Michael Rispoli. It was clear that Jimmy was able to play the menace. He was a guy that if you had to walk in a room and face him, parts of your body were going to curl up.

But the scenes we read that day included scenes in the Melfi office, and he just sucked you right in. The dichotomy of this character was so compelling and a very, very difficult challenge for an actor. David Chase turned around and said to us: "This is the guy who can do this." And he was brilliant up until the last frame of the show. I don't think any (actor's) ever been better in anything than Jimmy was in (Sopranos).

He wore his fame uncomfortably. He was someone who not only didn't crave the spotlight but worked hard to avoid it. …

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