Warning: This post contains major spoilers for the very famous ending of The Sopranos.
Alec Baldwin has had a diverse career. He’s done drama and comedy. He’s done Broadway and SNL. He’s played Donald Trump as well as Jimmy Swaggart, Al Capone, Robert McNamara, even Mr. Conductor in the Thomas the Tank Engine movie. But there’s one role he coveted that he never got to do: whoever (probably!) whacks Tony Soprano.
The beloved actor appeared on Talking Sopranos, the podcast hosted by alumni Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa, in which, among other things, he revealed that he tried to get in on what would prove to be a big piece of television history.
“I called up whoever it was, I forget, and I said tell them, when it’s time to kill Jimmy,” he recounted, referring to James Gandolfini, “tell them — this was early, before you get to the end — there’s only one man in this business who should come in, whack Jimmy, and ride off with Edie [Falco], and I am that man.”
Baldwin clearly had no clue what creator David Chase had in mind for the ending, so he even came up with a possible conclusion that in no way resembled the controversial one we ultimate got. “I am the guy who needs to blow Jimmy away and take Edie, who I’m madly in love with, away,” he said. “And they were like, ‘Sure, great, we’ll add your name to the list of all the Irish actors who think that they should be on The Sopranos.”
Obviously none of that ever happened. Indeed, technically speaking, we don’t know what happened to Tony Soprano. The final shot famously (infamously?) cuts to black before anything happens. So technically speaking, Tony never died. And we can’t be 100% sure which person in the diner was the one who was (again, probably!) going to rub him out. But we know Alec Baldwin was nowhere to be seen.
But that wasn’t the only thing Baldwin revealed. He also offered his theory about why he never made any appearance on a show that featured tons of guest spots, even Lauren Bacall as herself. He blames it on an awkward first meeting with Chase on a hot day in Los Angeles — and much like his most famous SNL character, it involves the Four Seasons. He got the hotel confused with the restaurant, which wound up leaving him sweating through his suit.
“I go into the bathroom of this super chic restaurant, take my jacket off, take my shirt off. I’m mopping the sweat up off my body, and I’m holding my shirt up to the mechanical dryer,” Baldwin said. “And the door opens — and it’s David Chase. This is my introduction to David Chase. And he goes, ‘Alec Baldwin? What the f— are you doing drying your shirt in the bathroom at the Four Seasons restaurant?’ And I think based on that alone, I was never cast on your show. Ever.”