Lin-Manuel Miranda and Other Actors You Didn’t Realize Were on ‘The Sopranos’
These days, Lin-Manuel Miranda is known for creating and starring in the blockbuster musical Hamilton and his role as the lamplighter Jack in Mary Poppins Returns. But before he was winning Tony Awards and hanging out with Barack Obama, he was just a struggling actor happy to get work, no matter how small the part.
In an interview with Kelly Ripa, Miranda talked about his first on-screen role, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance as a bellhop in a Season 6 episode of The Sopranos.
What Miranda remembers about working on The Sopranos
Miranda was on the verge of hitting the big time with his first musical, In the Heights – which he wrote while a student at Wesleyan College — when he got his first serious acting job. He played a hotel employee who has a brief conversation with Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and Paulie Gualtieri (Tony Sirico). The actor said his lack of experience shows.
“So here’s how green an actor I am in that scene,” Miranda said. “I am so green you can see me look down for my mark.”
Though the scene lasts less than 30 seconds, Miranda said people still recognize him in it.
“It’s funny, because it’ll pop up on re-runs and people are like, ‘Wow, you made a cameo on The Sopranos!’ No, no — when you are a substitute teacher and this is your first job, it’s just a job,” he said. “It’s only when you’re famous that it’s retroactively a cameo.”
Other stars who started out on The Sopranos
Miranda is hardly the only star who got one of his first acting jobs on the critically acclaimed HBO show.
Before he was Adonis Creed or Erik Killmonger, and even before he broke viewers hearts as Wallace on The Wire, Michael B. Jordan got one of his first acting jobs on The Sopranos. He appears in a Season 1 flashback scene to Tony’s childhood as a kid who yells at the future mob boss for littering.
Jordan wasn’t the only actor from The Wire with a role on the show. Michael K. Williams appeared in one episode in Season 3, shortly before he got his big break playing Omar Little. And J.D. Williams, who played Bodie, appeared on the second episode of The Sopranos as a guy who helps hijack a truck.
A 15-year-old Stefani Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga) also popped up on the hit drama, in a bit part in a Season 3 episode as a classmate of Tony’s son A.J. Golden Globe nominee Paul Dano had one of his first acting jobs on the show, also playing a friend of A.J.’s. He played Patrick Whalen in several episodes.
The Sopranos wasn’t the first acting job for Will Arnett, who’d go on to star in Arrested Development and BoJack Horseman, but he definitely wasn’t yet a star when he appeared in two episodes as the husband of an FBI agent. Michael Kelly – who fans of the Netflix show House of Cards know as Doug Stamper – had already had small parts on crime dramas like Law & Order, The Shield, and Third Watch before landing the bigger role of FBI Agent Ron Goddard, who appeared in six episodes of the show
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