Steve Schirripa, the actor who portrayed Bobby ‘Bacala’ Baccalieri on The Sopranos, has revealed how he first heard about his character’s impending death. The Sopranos followed mob boss Tony Soprano as he sought to balance his work and home life while grappling with his mental health. James Gandolfini effectively played Tony alongside a stellar cast, including Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Lorraine Bracco, and of course, Schirripa. David Chase created the series, which earned critical praise and a massive following of fans during its six-season run on HBO.
Recently, a prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark, brought The Sopranos back to the forefront after being off the air for 14 years. The Many Saints of Newark delves into Tony’s formative years, most notably his relationship with his uncle, Dickie Moltisanti. The film underperformed at the box office, but it was also saddled with a day-and-date release on HBO Max, which saw an overabundance of people streaming The Many Saints of Newark instead. Still, the film also boosted HBO Max’s streaming numbers for The Sopranos, as the series jumped to the top of the service’s most-watched list. The Many Saints of Newark pushed old fans to revisit the series while also helping to introduce it to a new generation. With The Sopranos once again surging in popularity, further details about the show have come to light.
In a recent interview with THR, Schirripa was asked about “The Blue Comet,” the last episode before the series finale, where his character dies. Schirripa responded, “The show’s over, so all bets are off.” According to Schirripa, Chase would always pull actors aside at table reads to inform them of their characters’ deaths. However, it would seem as though Schirripa received special consideration. Chase came to him with the news before the script read-through, or as Schirripa put it, “It was like a real hit in that moment.” Check out Schirripa’s comments below:
“There were nine episodes left. The show’s over, so all bets are off. If I would have been killed off in seasons two, three, or four, I would have been devastated because you’re not only out of work, you’re no longer with your friends. It was unusual the way I found out. Usually, David Chase took the actor aside at readthrough and gave the news. For me, it was about 11 a.m. in January and my phone rang. David said, ‘I’m on my way over.’ So I knew something was up. He arrived and said, ‘I guess you know why I am here.’ It was like a real hit in that moment. I said, ‘How’s it going to happen?’ and he said, ‘In a train store.’ And I said, ‘I hope you’re happy with what I did.’ And he said, ‘Very.’ And I thanked him for changing my life. I remember Jim [Gandolfini] saying, ‘Wow. I’ve never heard of him coming to anyone before. You should be flattered.’ And I was.”
Bobby’s death on the show was a heartbreaking moment for fans, as he had become a beloved character. Gandolfini’s comment to Schirripa also shows how much the cast and crew respected both the actor and the character. Even more devastating, Schirripa revealed that his death scene was filmed on Valentine’s Day of 2007. While ultimately sad, Bobby’s demise marked a memorable moment for The Sopranos.
Schirripa has been busy with several other Sopranos-related endeavors. He currently has a podcast with fellow castmate Imperioli called Talking Sopranos, where they discuss the series at length with behind-the-scenes insights. Schirripa and Imperioli also co-wrote a book on the series called Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of The Sopranos, giving fans even more content to digest. A lot has happened since the show ended, but it’s clear that The Sopranos still has a place in the cultural zeitgeist.