The unreleased film was shot in 2010, three years after the end of the famous HBO series and three years before Gandolfini’s unexpected death in June 2013. The Sopranos ended ambiguously, leaving viewers to wonder about Tony’s fate when a tense moment in a restaurant suddenly turned black.
The existence of the short film was revealed yesterday on rapper Chuck D. Broken: Hope, Heartbreak and the New York Knicks,
“I couldn’t believe it didn’t work,” Falco said, speaking on the podcast. “Not so much because of The Sopranos. I just thought it was New York. How can you say no in New York, for god’s sake? But he did!
Jonathan Hock, who has led several of the ESPNs 30 for 30 documentaries, dealt with the short film of 10 minutes. Guest stars included Donald Trump, Robert De Niro and Super Knicks fan Spike Lee.
“I remember doing it and what’s absolutely amazing to me is that I didn’t know who LeBron James was,” Falco said. “We were getting these requests all the time at the time and Jim Gandolfini, he didn’t do anything. And somehow he accepted this thing, which shocked me. I thought it was a prank when someone said Jim was going to do it.
Gandolfini was actually a huge sports fan and made promotional videos to boost the football program of his alma mater, Rutgers University of New Jersey. He has also appeared frequently on the team sidelines for matches.
LeBron’s video was shot at Gandolfini’s apartment in New York City. The premise was that a full bodied Gandolfini had not died in the dinner party as the TV show indicates, but was in fact in the witness protection program. “There he was, dressed as Tony… he must have been a bigger basketball fan than I thought,” Falco said.
Sadly, Gandolfini and his crew failed to convince James to take his talents to New York. Instead, he announced on a live TV show called decision that he was moving to Miami.
The 10-minute short film remains invisible and will likely never leave its own protection schedule.