The Sopranos: Robert Patrick On Pushing James Gandolfini's Buttons

Character actor Robert Patrick has played such a wide range of characters across film and television and one of his memorable appearances was a brief stint on HBO's The Sopranos. Playing gambler David Scatino across three episodes during season two, the star of the upcoming HBO Max series Peacemaker appeared on the Talking Sopranos podcast (via The Hollywood Reporter) hosted by series alum Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa to discuss Patrick's prep work to get into star James Gandolfini's (Tony Soprano) head before filming their scenes.

Sopranos: Robert Patrick Reflects Poking the James Gandolfini Bear
James Gandolfini and Robert Patrick in The Sopranos. Image courtesy of HBO

"I had never met Mr. Gandolfini," Patrick recalled. "I am out front on a bench smoking a cigarette with Jimmy after we'd just done this read-through. And we're trying to get to know each other a little bit because we're supposed to be high school buddies. As the conversation was winding up, I said to him, 'You know the scene where you come to get your money, you better bring your fucking A-game.' And he looked at me said, 'Oh, I'll bring my fucking A-game.'" Before he walked off, the late actor flicked his cigarette at Patrick.

The Sopranos: Robert Patrick On Pushing James Gandolfini's Buttons
American actor Robert Patrick (Terminator 2, X-Files) talks to the audience during the London Film & Comic Con 2019 at the Olympia Exhibition Center, Hammersmith. Editorial credit: THX Images /

Gandolfini and Patrick's next scene would be when Tony collects on Davey's gambling debt of $45,000 that he lost in a high-stakes poker game. "[Gandolfini] came in and said, 'How's your balls?' I said, 'They're fine.' And he said, 'I'm hungover, let's do this fucking scene,'" he said. "And man, it was one take. And he scared the living shit out of me. I was so intimidated. What a fantastic experience." The actor appeared in The Sopranos episodes "Funhouse," "Bust-Out" and "The Happy Wanderer". The upcoming spinoff is the prequel film The Many Saints of Newark that stars James' son Michael Gandolfini as the character's younger self premieres on October 1 on HBO Max and theaters.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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