James Gandolfini may have been a powerhouse gangster on the hit HBO drama The Sopranos, but as revealed Boardwalk Empire's PaleyFest panel on Sunday, Oct. 6, Gandolfini was also up to play the notorious, real-life gangster Nucky Thompson, the role now embodied by Steve Buscemi.
"[Gandolfini was] one of the first people we talked about," Boardwalk Empire creator and showrunner Terence Winter said (via Deadline).
"Not only had we just worked with him, but he also bore such an uncanny
resemblance to the actual Nucky."
Winter added that because Nucky Thompson was not a really well-known gangster, and 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, and Winter agreed.