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‘Sopranos’ Star Shares Wealth
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Even as discussions heat up among the principals to commit to a sixth season of “The Sopranos,” sources say the real buzz on the set of HBO’s hit mob drama has been about the generous gesture made last week by James Gandolfini to more than a dozen of his fellow cast members.
Gandolfini, who had a bruising salary renegotiation with HBO earlier this year, recently received his first advance from HBO on his share of the “Sopranos” profits, and in turn, the Emmy-winning actor quietly handed out checks in the five-figure range to series regulars, including Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese and Tony Sirico.
Sources said Gandolfini ponied up about $500,000 of his own cash as a way of acknowledging that in his view, the show’s success hinges on the strength of its ensemble cast.
“It was always part of his plan (during the renegotiations) to share some of the wealth with the other actors,” a source close to Gandolfini said. “He has always called this show an ensemble, from Day 1.”
Meanwhile, sources said that HBO and “Sopranos” creator/executive producer David Chase are in talks about the possibility of doing a sixth season (the show is now in production on Season 5). HBO’s option for picking up the actors’ contracts for a sixth season expired Tuesday, but the “Sopranos” troupers agreed to a one-week extension. An HBO spokeswoman declined comment.