The topic of the Sopranos made finding filming locations a bit tricky

The topic of the Sopranos made finding filming locations a bit tricky


“The Sopranos” has always been a bit controversial, and that controversy has made things difficult for Ilene Landress, the show’s producer and executive producer. Speaking to Michael Imperioli (who played Christopher) and Steve Schirripa (who played Bobby) for their book “Woke Up This Morning: The Definitive Oral History of the Sopranos,” Landress opened up about the first time they struggled to find a filming location for a scene.

The scene in question was one of very many funeral scenes in the series, this one taking place in the middle of the penultimate episode of the first season, “Isabella”. It was originally filmed at an Italian funeral home in Little Italy. However, they were unable to complete filming the scene at this funeral home, as they were kicked out halfway through. Why? Well, it might have something to do with what Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) said in the middle of the funeral. As Landress explained:

“That’s the scene where the guys are paying homage to an old lady who’s in the coffin. You see Uncle Junior looking in the coffin and he turns to someone and says, ‘She gave me my first handjob.’ And we got kicked out of the place.”

In fairness to the funeral home, they wouldn’t be the last to want something to do with the show. “The other issue was the shootings in Catholic churches,” Landress admitted. “They don’t like us very much either.” Well, it wasn’t the churches themselves, so much as the archdiocese of the church that didn’t give them permission. “They want family. Kind of like Major League Baseball.”

Not much baseball at the Sopranos


While it’s easy to see why a church would want anything to do with “The Sopranos,” Major League Baseball was a more surprising resistance. In the season 5 episode, “All Happy Families”, there is a scene where Tony (James Gandolfini) is watching baseball on TV with a few other characters. Typically, in a scene like this, the audience would at least get a glimpse of what the characters are watching on TV, but that never happens here. As Ilene Landress explained, “We couldn’t get permission to use any Major League Baseball footage on the show because it’s not a family show, so to speak.”

It’s reasoning that makes sense until you remember all the other companies that agreed to be featured on the show. So MLB didn’t want “The Sopranos” to feature footage of any of their games, but Nintendo was okay with mob boss Tony playing Mario Kart with his son? Something is wrong here.

Showrunner David Chase also seemed to think it was unfair as he ended up writing his annoyance with MLB into his script. “There’s a line in the script where Artie says, ‘F*** Major League Baseball. Let’s watch the ballet,’” Landress said. “When David got upset, if we couldn’t clarify something that we wanted to, we kind of brought it right into the dialogue.” It’s the kind of information that makes you wonder if an orange juice company ever snubbed the show, but we’ll never know for sure.

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