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The Sopranos Creator Only Let One Actor Change Dialogue — Tony Sirico

The actor requested a single word be changed when referring to his character, Paulie.
  • Tony Sirico as Paulie Walnuts in The Sopranos (Photo: HBO)
    Tony Sirico as Paulie Walnuts in The Sopranos (Photo: HBO)

    Beloved Sopranos star Tony Sirico, who played Paulie Walnuts on the HBO drama, died on Friday at the age of 79. Creator David Chase paid tribute to the late star an interview with Vulture, in which he revealed that the actor was the only cast member to ask for a dialogue change during the drama's six-season run.

    "Tony was part of one of the greatest casts of all time. It was certainly the greatest cast I've ever worked with, and I've worked with some incredible casts," Chase said. "But he was the only one who ever asked me to have a line changed. And I did it."

    What line could have prompted such a request from Sirico? "Another character was talking about Paulie, and they said he was a bully," recalled Chase. "Tony didn't like that. He asked me to take the word 'bully' out of there. And I did."

    Chase went on to say that he doesn't remember exactly how he changed the line, adding, "The important thing is, he didn't like that word. He didn't like it at all."

    When asked whether Sirico's complicated past could have been the reason the word "bully" struck a chord, Chase replied, "Yeah. I wonder if that had something to do with why he was so sensitive about it."

    "Maybe he had been a bully as a young man," he continued. "I've seen a picture of him as a young man standing out in the street next to a parking meter with a tank top on. Flexing his muscles, you know. He looked the part."

    Before Sirico starred in films like Goodfellas and Mighty Aphrodite, the Brooklyn native lived a life similar to that of his Sopranos character. He was arrested 27 times for various criminal offenses before transitioning into acting in the early '70s.

    In the days since his passing, Sirico's Sopranos co-stars have publicly honored him, an indication that no matter who he was in the past, he was most certainly not a bully in the latter half of his life.

    The Sopranos is currently streaming on HBO Max.

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    Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.

    TOPICS: Tony Sirico, HBO, HBO Max, The Sopranos, David Chase