When you re-watch The Sopranos in its entirety, you’re bound to pick up on things you didn’t catch the first time around. Whether it’s the performance of Frank Vincent (Phil Leotardo) or David Chase’s cameo as an Italian guy in “Commendatori,” there’s definitely a lot we missed.
There’s plenty more where that came from. In a brilliant moment that finds Vito Spatafore (Joseph Gannascoli) at the Crazy Horse club, Vito says, “You should play Skynyrd.” Vito, one of the top earners in the crew of Tony Soprano, would end up becoming a serious problem for the family.
However, it wasn’t the first character Gannascoli played on the show. His introduction as Vito followed a brief appearance in the first season of The Sopranos. The same goes for Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo).
When we first see de Matteo in the pilot, she was playing someone else. Chase and his writers worked around these previous appearances when the actors played other characters later.
De Matteo started on ‘The Sopranos’ in a minor role as a hostess.
In the Sopranos pilot, we find a less Jersey version of de Matteo playing the role of a restaurant hostess. Originally, it was a separate role than that of Adriana. However, the producers liked her and had her audition again for the role of Christopher Moltisanti’s (Michael Imperioli) girlfriend.
According to de Matteo, she didn’t get the part she auditioned for (Christopher’s girlfriend) because Chase didn’t think she was “Italian enough.” When she got a second chance, she didn’t mess around.
“At this point I knew what I was dealing with,” she told Vanity Fair. “So I wore my nameplate in diamonds. I teased my hair up a little bit. One of the words in the line was “Ow,” and the reason that I got the part was because the way I said “Owwuhwhwwwuhwwwuh!” I turned it into, like, five syllables.”
Almost the same thing happened with Gannascoli, who turns up briefly in Season One as a bystander in a pastry shop. He had yet to become Vito.
Gannascoli wasn’t connected in his first ‘Sopranos’ appearance.
Though he later become a powerful figure in the Soprano crew (Vito), Gannascoli entered the Sopranos timeline as someone who isn’t connected. In “The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti” (Season One, Episode Eight), Gannascoli plays a pastry shop customer named Gino — just a guy living the straight life (no pun intended).
When Christopher gets furious about the long wait at the shop, he decides to teach the kid behind the counter a lesson. So he tells Gino (Gannascoli), the only customer left, to take a walk and come back later. “Gino” obliges and leaves.
The following season, we see Gannascoli again. This time, in “The Happy Wanderer” (Season Two, Episode Six), he’s not Gino. Gannascoli has begun playing Vito Spatafore, which he’ll do until halfway through the final season.
In the case of de Matteo, the writers simply blended the hostess character into Adriana. With Gannascoli, Gino had no connection whatsoever to Vito. Viewers simply have to overlook it.