The Office is without a doubt a modern classic, and despite his departure from the series after season 7, it is still synonymous with Steve Carell's Michael Scott. The show enlisted the talents of Will Ferrell, James Spader, and Kathy Bates in the seasons after, but it appears there was another big-time name in the mix in the form of Sopranos star James Gandolfini. During a conversation with Ricky Gervais on the most recent episode of the Talking Sopranos podcast, co-hosts Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa revealed that Gandolfini had been offered $4 million to star in The Office as a replacement for Carell, and it turns out he would have taken it if not for HBO (via Deadline).
According to Imperioli and Schirripa, Gandolfini was offered $4 million for one season as the new boss in the series to bring some star power to the show after Carell departed. "You know, they talked about having Gandolfini at one point replace him [Steve Carell], did you know that?" Imperioli said.
This was several years after The Sopranos had already ended, and that was part of the reason why Gandolfini was going to accept the offer. "Jim was going to do it because he hadn't worked and it was a number of years removed from when the show ended," Schirripa said.
That's when HBO offered Gandolfini $3 million to turn the offer down, with Gervais adding "So they paid him that to keep the legacy of The Sopranos pure?"
So Gandolfini turned it down, collected $3 million in the process, and The Office went in a different direction, but it's interesting to think about what a Gandolfini-led Office season would have looked like. The show would end up having Andy Bernard become the new boss for a bit before finally having Dwight step in as the new boss, fulfilling the character's series-long dream. Coupled with finally marrying Angela, Dwight pretty much got everything he ever wanted, which is what made the appearance of Michael as his best mensch even better.
As for The Sopranos, the show avoided any real spinoffs or prequels until recently, as they are set to release a new prequel movie that focuses on the early years of Gandolfini's Tony Soprano. The project is titled The Many Saints of Newark and will hit HBO Max and theaters on October 1st.
Would you have wanted to see Gandolfini on The Office? Let us know in the comments or as always you can talk all things Office with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!