The ‘Sopranos’ Actors Who Appear in Scorsese’s ‘The Irishman’
When it comes to The Irishman, the latest film by Martin Scorsese, there are two camps. In the first, comprising 99% of film critics, you hear reviewers describe it as an “enthralling, long-form knockout” (Variety), a “massive achievement” (Guardian), or, simply, “a monument” (New York Times).
As for the second camp, our own Fred Topel leads the very small pack in describing the film as self-indulgent and, overall, simply a bad movie. Either way, everyone agrees The Irishman is among the biggest releases of 2019. (It opens in theaters for a short run starting November 1.)
If you’re a fan of Joe Pesci, you have to mark this down as a must-see, as it’s his first major film in decades. And familiar faces from classic Scorsese movies (Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel) join another screen legend (Al Pacino) in his first picture by the great director.
Fans of The Sopranos will also find some familiar faces in The Irishman. Here are the big matches from the two productions.
Robert Funaro (Eugene Pontecorvo) and John Bianco (Gerry Torciano)
Eugene Pontecorvo, played by the Brooklyn-born Robert Funaro, has several memorable scenes on The Sopranos. One comes at his no-work job at the esplanade.
When Little Paulie takes his ball-breaking a bit too far, Gene smashes a bottle on his head before punctuating his statement with a kick. It’s an especially brutal scene. Later, Gene’s suicide ends the character’s run.
John Bianco, who played Gerry Torciano, will be another familiar face. Torciano worked under Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent) and once terrorized Hesh and his son-in-law. Later, somebody whacked Torciano as Silvio (Steve Van Zandt) had dinner with him.
Other Sopranos players in The Irishman include Kevin O’Rourke, who played Coach Hauser in Season One (“Boca”) and Ron Castellano (Terry Doria). The Doria character stands out because he borrows money from Vito Spatafore (Joe Gannascoli) knowing Vito’s about to be killed.
Kathrine Narducci (Charmaine Bucco) has the biggest role
Kathrine Narducci, who played Charmaine Bucco (Artie’s wife), needs no introduction. When she wasn’t reminding Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco) why she didn’t go for Tony after a fling, she was telling Tony to his face she didn’t want him “and his boys” around.
Narducci has a major role in The Irishman as Carrie Bufalino, wife to Joe Pesci’s Russel Bufalino. The film opens on the heels of the EPIX series Godfather of Harlem, in which Narducci plays another mob wife (Olympia Gigante, wife of Vincent “The Chin”).
But Narducci has known the mob life since she was a young girl in East Harlem. That’s how she lost her father (in a mob-style hit) at the age of 10.
Of course, Sopranos actors in Scorsese productions is nothing new. More than 20 performers from Goodfellas (1990) turned up in the HBO series at the end of the decade.