‘The Sopranos’: How James Gandolfini and Edie Falco Began Taking Their Roles Home With Them

It’s never good when actors find themselves bringing their characters home with them. For the cast members of a show like The Sopranos, that was most definitely the case. Just imagine being around your family while aspects of the Tony Soprano character crept into your daily life.

But looking back at their time portraying Tony and Carmela Soprano, James Gandolfini and Edie Falco mostly looked at the positive sides of it. As for Gandolfini, he had nothing but warm things to say about his Sopranos co-star.

In fact, Gandolfini had more warmth in his heart for Falco than you might expect. “I’m in love with Edie,” he said in 2012. (He noted that he couldn’t be sure if it was the actress, the character, or a combination.)

Falco also acknowledged how the lines between her character and her real-life feelings could disappear — especially when it had been a long day on the set. Even after the show ended, she found herself feeling jealous about an actress working opposite Gandolfini.

Both ‘Sopranos’ stars admitted to confusion about their feelings

James Gandolfini & Edie Falco in scene from HBO TV series ‘The Sopranos’ | Anthony Neste/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

In his comments in the Sopranos oral history published in Vanity Fair, Gandolfini reckoned with his feelings for Falco. “I’m still in love with Edie,” he said. “And, of course, I love my wife [Deborah Lin, whom he married in 2008], but I’m in love with Edie.”

But Gandolfini couldn’t say where the character began and the actress ended. “I don’t know if I’m in love with Carmela or Edie or both,” he said. If you go by stories of Falco on set, it isn’t hard to understand what he meant.

Sopranos creator David Chase had nothing but the highest praise for Falco’s talent, work ethic, and professionalism on the job. In fact, Chase described her work on the show as “faultless.”

For her part, Falco has spoken of her admiration for Gandolfini as an actor, and of their ideal rapport on set. “It is just perfect, the two of us,” she said in an interview collected in The Sopranos Sessions.

“It reminds me of when I was a little kid and you used to play House. I have never been more comfortable opposite an actor.” Falco also spoke of how she’d feel differently when Gandolfini’s characters interacted with other women.

Falco felt jealous of Tony’s goomars — and 1 character who had nothing to do with ‘The Sopranos’

Edie Falco & James Gandolfini | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

While everyone saw Falco as the most composed performer on the set, she told Vanity Fair of times she felt possessive of the Tony Soprano character.

“It was weird to sit down at a table read with the actresses playing Tony’s girlfriends,” she said. “Especially, if I was tired, the emotional lines would bleed into one another.”

She recalled having to tell herself that it was her job and soon she would be home with her personal (i.e., real) life. But even after the show wrapped and she saw Gandolfini play opposite Marcia Gay Harden in a Broadway play in 2009, those feelings hadn’t entirely disappeared.

“I remember when I saw Jim in God of Carnage, and he was Marcia Gay Harden’s husband, and I had this ‘How come I have to be OK with this?’ kind of feeling,” Falco said.

Also see‘The Sopranos’: Why We Never Saw the Russian From ‘Pine Barrens’ Again