James Gandolfini may have been a powerhouse gangster on the hit HBO drama The Sopranos, but as revealed yesterday at the PaleyFest panel on Boardwalk Empire, Gandolfini could have also played the notorious gangster Nucky Thompson, the role now embodied by Steve Buscemi.
According to Deadline, Boardwalk Empire creator and showrunner Terence Winter was asked a question during the panel discussion as to other actors considered for the role of Nucky Thompson, Empire's leading gangster.
"[Gandolfini was] one of the first people we talked about," Winter said. "Not only had we just worked with him, but he also bore such an uncanny resemblance to the actual Nucky."
However, despite looking like the true-to-life gangster, Gandolfini, who passed at the age of 51 in June 2013, was never really considered for the role because of his iconic Sopranos character.
Winter added that because Nucky Thompson was not a really well-known gangster, not many people knew what he looked like, so they had the luxury of casting anyone they enjoyed working with in the role.
According to Winter, it was executive producer Martin Scorsese who couldn't stop thinking about Steve Buscemi for the role, Winter agreed, and the rest was history.