Actor James Gandolfini opened his pay to other actors on the Sopranos.

January 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Super Earners


After 4 seasons starring in the HBO series The Sopranos super earner actor James Gandolfini decided it was time for a change.

In the series, he played a NJ mobster in therapy, Tony Soprano, pursuing the conflicting goals of maintaining tranquility at home, while simultaneously managing his crew of earner-mobsters in their illicit activities.

The 5th season was delayed while James and HBO sparred over his contract. James sought to more than double his pay. He understood that as the star, he couldn’t be written out of the show like others in the cast, so he was in a strong negotiating position. He held out. Fears mounted that the show would be canceled. But, in the end, they came to an agreement.

So, what did James do with some of his extra pay? He opened it up.

He wrote checks to his fellow actors, amounting to a significant percentage of his pay, to acknowledge that together, as an ensemble, they made the show great!

By its very nature, his contract negotiations with HBO were closed to others. It was all about him. But, he chose to make the gain all about them.

sopranos-2Together, the financially fortified ensemble of that 5th season went on to contribute to The Sopranos becoming the first cable show to ever win an Emmy award for Best Drama Series.

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