You never know. Anything happens in Sopranoland.
The Sopranos: Final Season
Begins Sunday, April 8
Bobby 'Bacala' Baccaliere, Author and TV Personality
Friday, April 6, 2007; 3:00 PM
Actor Steven Schirripa, aka Bobby "Bacala" Baccaliere on The Sopranos, author of "A Goomba's Guide to Life" and the upcoming "Nicky Deuce" and frequent guest on The Tonight Show, Don Imus and Spike TV's Total Nonstop Action Wrestling program, was online Friday, April 6, at 3 p.m. ET from Las Vegas, where he lives, to talk about the eagerly awaited return of the Emmy Award-winning crime series.
A transcript follows.
Boulder, Colo.: Hi Steve, Now that "The Sopranos" is done, will you be going back to your work in Vegas full-time? What does the future hold for you?
Steve Schirripa: No, I don't plan on going back. I'm still a consultant to the Riviera and I have been since I left. I'm a correspondent for Jay Leno, I have a show on Spike called "Casino Cinema" and I just made a deal with Nickolodeon to exec produce my kids' "Nicky Deuce" book to make it into a movie of the week. Plus a whole lotta other stuff in the fryer. We got a lotta stuff going on.
Washington, D.C.: To what extent has the cast of "The Sopranos" been permitted to improvise their lines during the filming of an episode? Should we assume that every word we hear has been scripted in advance?
Steve Schirripa: Absolutely, positively. Not one word is improvised. It's 100 percent scripted ahead of time.
Millbrae, Calif.: When did your character Bobby first appear?
When did you know that you would have a continuing role? How do you prepare for each episode?
Steve Schirripa: First time I came in the second episode of the second season. I didn't know I was going to be a regular until the third season. And the writing is so good on the show ... It's right on the page, that's how you prepare, that's how great the writing is.
Washington, D.C.: How can Bobby possibly win a fight with Tony?
Steve Schirripa: Why not? I'm in better shape than him. (LAUGHS)
Chicago, Ill.: Hey Steve! My question is that on the show Bobby's hobby is collecting toy trains. What is your hobby while you aren't at work?
Steve Schirripa: My hobby when I'm not at work is writing, you know. I have five books. I write and spend time with my family and I'm a big Knicks and Yankee fan.
Washington, D.C.: The biggest draw for this show in my opinion is the violence, adultery, intrigue, and general tough guy antics, less so is the many visits by Tony to Dr. Melfi. Should we expect more this season, especially with your character holding your ground against Janice?
Steve Schirripa: I think this season you'll see a little bit of everything. The audience will get everything you want.
Washington, D.C.: Hi Steven,
Love Sopranos. Do you get any of the nightmares that it was alleged James Gandolfini was afflicted by and wanted out of the series like three seasons ago?
Steve Schirripa: I'm gettin' nightmares now that it's over. It's not nightmares, it's just memories and pleasant, pleasant dreams.
Sugar Land, Tex.: We've heard from Ralphie, Adriana, Junior on the interview circuit just before their demise. Does the fact that you are here mean you're the next to go?
Steve Schirripa: You never know. Anything happens in Sopranoland.
Arlington, Va.: Why is this the final season of Sopranos? Did all of the actors want to move on to other projects?
Steve Schirripa: No, I don't think it was the actors, I think it was the creator David (Chase). It was David Chase's decision and we all respect that.
Bethesda, Md.: Love your appearances on Leno with "Ross." Anybody from the show or "the old neighborhood" dare give you grief about them and will "Bobby" still be breathing at the end of the season (you can tell me -- may I sleep with the fish if I breathe a word)?
Steve Schirripa: (LAUGHS) I plead the Fifth.
Richmond, Va.: It is true that Baccaliere means "dried fish" as Junior said when Bobby visited him in the ward last season?
P.S. Sorry the show's ending, it's been a great ride. Best of luck in your future roles.
Steve Schirripa: Bacala is salted codfish and it's an Italian delicacy. Not Baccaliere, bacala. Thanks for your comments.
Severn, Md.: Steve,
Congratulations on what has been a wonderful show. I am a large man (6'3", 305 pounds). I have acted in community theater (musicals) the last two years, and have just recently done some actual screen acting (commercials) for my job. I would like to move into television and film acting. Aside from "The Sopranos," have you found it difficult to get parts, as a larger gentleman?
Steve Schirripa: No, I think it sets us apart from the pack and
TV and movies look for real people. Also, there's a lot of skinny good-looking actors tending bar, remember that.
Hartford, Conn.: We know that Tony uses "waste management" as his cover and supposedly uses that to show his income, but what have I missed in terms of Bobby's backstory -- what does he do to "legitimately" earn $?
Steve Schirripa: I don't know if I know the answer to that question. Good question and I don't know if I have the answer to that. I'll have to get back to you.
Bethesda, Md.: Hi Steve!
Is David Chase really as difficult as he's been written about?
Steve Schirripa: Not at all. I've had nothing but a pleasant experience. I don't know where that came from. I've had nothing but a pleasant experience from the day I met him. I'm a big fan of his.
Columbia, Md.: I don't want you to have to give anything away, but my friend is insisting Adriana is still alive. C'mon, Silvio wouldn't mess around, right? Please let me tell my friend he's an idiot.
Steve Schirripa: I say go right ahead, you're right. (LAUGHS)
DCer: Steven: First, congrats on making television history as part of The Sopranos! Second, the 6th season has seemed to stall a bit in terms of storytelling and even character development-- does the cast and crew also feel that something was a smidge off-key? Is there something that us fans are missing/misinterpreting in our interpretation of how things developed? I left feeling like perhaps there were no more stories to tell, but desperately want to be proved wrong!
Steve Schirripa: I think you'll be very fulfilled and happy with these next nine episodes.
College Park, Md.: HBO has the best television shows around and the "The Sopranos" is the best TV series of all time, IMO. I just wanted to say what great work you and the rest of the cast and crew do and how much I will miss you guys. I will not be watching this Sunday but will catch up via TiVo before next Sunday. My wife doesn't think watching your show is an appropriate way to spend Easter Sunday so we will visit instead with our other "family."
Steve Schirripa: Okay, I'm sure when you finally watch it you'll enjoy it.
Philadelphia, Pa.: Hi Steve:
Love, love, love The Sopranos!
Spent last evening in West Paterson watching one of the final scenes being filmed with Carl Capotorto (Little Paulie Germani).
Your character has always been the least 'criminal-like' particularly in terms of demeanor. How did you decide to approach your character development of Bobby?
Congratulations and all the best!
Steve Schirripa: Bobby took care of Junior so he was loyal, almost like a puppy, you know. Not the brightest guy, but has a big heart and loves his family, so most likely he's done some violent things, we just haven't seen much of it (as of yet), but let's see what happens.
Washington, D.C.: I got to see "The Sopranos" filming some few years ago in person. I saw that there were many shots and scenes things that were never used in the show. I guess they got cut out for time. Any chance we'd get to see the deleted or unused scenes in DVD form, or does David Chase prefer to have us see the series as it aired in it's original form?
Steve Schirripa: I think eventually you'll see a lot of that on the DVDs, yes.
Washington, D.C.: Are you a fan at all of the HBO show that will follow The Sopranos on Sundays, Entourage?
Steve Schirripa: Yes, very big fan. Very funny, very realistic show, funny, funny, funny, great acting.
Harrisburg, Pa.: Any possibility of another season?
Steve Schirripa: Absolutely, positively none.
D.C. Gal: Hi Steve!
Have you all shot the series finale yet? If you have was there tears, laughter, regret?
We've had our last read-through which was extremely sad. We also had our cast and crew wrap party which was a lot of tears. There is still some shooting going on.
Boston, Mass.: I was buying some fruits and vegetables one Saturday at Haymarket,by the North End. I decided to go for a a macchiato at Modern Pastry where I could grab a real nice canoli as well. Walking through the door I saw you sitting at a small table laughing, talking with the owner while cameras where all around. Holding my vegetables and trying to sip my macchiato I quietly walked out slowly, meanwhile I was listening to your jokes trying not to drop a tomato or some other vegetable and make a "real scene". Will any of that be used? What's your favorite place in the North End? I know a place with unbelievable smoked mussels!!
Steve Schirripa: I love the North End, lotta good restaurants. That was a bit for Jay Leno that you saw me film. I look forward to being up there again soon. Love, love, love the North End of Boston.
Washington: Hey Steve,
Who would win in a fight, Walnuts or Sil?
Steve Schirripa: Absolutely Walnuts, a strong guy plus Silvio would probably be blinded by Walnuts' silver wings on the side of his head.
Providence, R.I.: Does Bobby have a girlfriend or is he faithful to Janice? Did he have a girlfriend while married to his 1st wife?
Steve Schirripa: No, he's the only guy that never had a mistress. Completely loyal family man. Plus I love Anbino's restaurant on Federal Hill.
Steve Schirripa: The producer meant to type Andino's.
Princeton, N.J.: How long does it take to film a typical episode? How many takes do you do for a typical scene? Has there been one director for the show that has been particularly good, any that have been difficult to work with?
Steve Schirripa: Tim Van Patten, Alan Coulter and Alan Taylor have directed many of our episodes. Any director who's come in has been wonderful.
Twelve to fourteen days to shoot an episode. Takes ... sometimes you do four takes, sometimes you do fourteen, depending on technical, your location, depending on that you know your lines. There are a lot of variables.
Washington, D.C.: Not to kiss up here, but it seems Bobby is the most complex and well-rounded character. And that has changed significantly over the course of the show. He started out as almost a joke character, and through scene after scene (wife's death, threatening the union guy in the bar, bedding the boss's sister, playing with trains), he's become very 3-dimensional. Did you have to fight with Chase and the writers to keep Bobby growing, and did you have to change your acting approach to the character as he grew?
Steve Schirripa: There is no fighting with David Chase. Of course I had to change. He had to be angry, emotional. He had to show a lot of different layers of the character. The more I was given to do by the writers the more I had to show different layers of his personality. It was all done by the writers.
Owings Mills, Md.: Hi!
In the years that you have been doing the show, have you had occasion to come across any real wise guys? If so, what have they mentioned in terms of the show's portrayal of their lifestyle, etc?
Steve Schirripa: Yes, I have. The ones I've run into absolutely love the authenticity of the show. To prove that, crime is down Sunday nights from 9 to 10.
Fairfax, Va.: Who are the writers of the show and how much contact do you have with them? Are they there when you are filming.
Steve Schirripa: The writers are David Chase, Terry Winter, Matthew Weiner and a few others over the years. Usually the person who writes that episode is on the set the whole time with the director to answer any questions the cast has or the director ... for props, for technical, for any questions, they're there.
Steve Schirripa: Thank you very much for taking the time. Also I hope you enjoy Sunday's premiere and look for my new book coming out in paperback April 22, "The Goomba Diet." And Leno, April 12. Also, tune into Casino Cinema on Spike every Monday at 9 p.m.