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Lin-Manuel Miranda Recalls James Gandolfini’s Generosity on ‘Sopranos’ Set During ‘Scared Sh*tless’ Bit Role

The "Hamilton" icon said Gandolfini went out of his way to help the "scared-sh*tless Puerto Rican kid in the bellhop outfit" on a Season 6 episode.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, James Gandolfini

Everett

Lin-Manuel Miranda fondly remembers that time he was on “The Sopranos” — just don’t call his appearance a cameo.

Miranda, who appeared as a bellhop in Season 6 of the Emmy-winning HBO series, explained that the very minor role was intimidating back in the day.

“I went on lots of voiceover auditions and acting auditions, and the only thing I booked was ‘The Sopranos,’ as a bellboy; I say, ‘I don’t know’ twice,” Miranda told Judd Apatow for Apatow’s latest book “Sicker in the Head: More Conversations About Life and Comedy,” available March 29. “I’m so green you can see me look down at my mark. Watch it if you get a chance, because now people are like ‘Lin-Manuel’s cameo on ‘The Sopranos’!’ It wasn’t a cameo. I wasn’t even in the union yet.”

Miranda appears in the 15th episode of Season 6, “Remember When,” as an unhelpful hotel employee who crosses paths with Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and Paulie Gualtieri (Tony Sirico) during their road trip from New Jersey to Florida. According to the “Hamilton” creator, “Sopranos” star Gandolfini eased Miranda’s nerves while filming.

“My one story about Gandolfini was that he stayed and did his sides even though it was the end of the night. He had no need to do that,” Miranda said. “He stayed and did the scene for the scared-shitless Puerto Rican kid in the bellhop outfit.”

Miranda added that Gandolfini also “sat on the steps of his trailer the whole time” to be fully immersed in the on-set camaraderie.

“He was never locked up in this trailer; he was just out, and people would talk to him,” Miranda remembered.

Gandolfini was also known for being protective of his co-stars. Series guest star Peter Riegert recently told cast regulars Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli on their “Talking Sopranos” podcast that Gandolfini stepped in to defend Riegert amid a nude scene switch-up.

“I was going to be naked. As far as I’m concerned, I would have liked a heads-up on that,” Riegert said of a Season 4 script change where Tony (Gandolfini) is beating his character in the shower.

“I didn’t know whether I was going to get fired or not, but Jimmy [Gandolfini] said to me, ‘Whatever you decide to do, I promise you I will have your back,’” Riegert said. “The thing was, at that table read, I didn’t realize that Jim recognized, on my face, that there was an actor in trouble. And he made it so it was my choice.”

As for Miranda’s short-lived “Sopranos” stint, his post-“Sopranos” acting career includes appearances in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Mary Poppins Returns,” and “His Dark Materials.” But Miranda has most famously gone on to achieve an almost-EGOT status, depending on how the 2022 Oscars pan out. The “In the Heights” and “Hamilton” writer is nominated for Best Original Song for “Encanto” ballad “Dos Oruguitas.” Meanwhile, Miranda’s feature directorial debut “tick, tick…BOOM” also landed Academy Awards nominations for Best Film Editing and Best Actor for star Andrew Garfield.

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