In Memory of The Late James Gandolfini, When Porn Made The Sopornos and Porn Was Still Fun

Word came today from Italy that actor James Gandolfini died of a heart attack while on vacation. Gandolfini’s signature role, of course was Tony Soprano.

Here’s an article I wrote six years ago when I interviewed Rob Spallone about The Sopornos porn parody.

Porn Valley- With the announcement last week that VCA Classics was releasing the first four volumes of The Sopornos in a Gift Pac, I figured Rob Spallone, who played Bobby Soporno, would give me a gift interview.

Spallone’s telling me that a Rolling Stone reporter called him last week for an interview about porn’s state of the union.

“They called me about the industry and most of the girls are prostituting today,” he says. “I gave them an earful. I gave them a whole rundown on how the porn industry has no money. Nobody’s buying or renting DVDs.”

“No shit, everyone knows that,” I’m saying.

“The 40th most popular hit site in the world is some adult site that’s free and you can get everything,” Spallone continues. “So why go buy or rent movies? Sales are done. I say the next two or three years, half the companies are closed.” [Was Spallone ever a prophet.]

Spallone remembers a time when he had a site called realpornworld.com.

“If it made all the money we thought it would and it was $30 to join- if that had been such a big success eight years ago and had thousands and thousands of members, by now we could have made it for free and just charged for advertising. That’s what these big giant people did. They took these companies they used to charge for, they got all these customers and then said now it’s free.”

Spallone’s also saying how he’s got a copy of the Amy Fischer sex video. He gives a wink of approval.

Spallone’s also wondering who Luke Ford sold his site to. I’m telling Spallone who would know better than him.

“He won’t tell me,” comments Spallone. “He started a new site- but not on the adult business.”

On the subject of The Sopornos, Spallone thinks the porn series ended three years too early. Then, again, there was no choice.

“Theresa Flynt said they got a letter from HBO telling them to stop making them or they were going to sue- which doesn’t make any sense to me,” says Spallone.

“We didn’t do anything wrong. HBO knew all about it and talked about it. It wasn’t like a secret that we were out. People that were on the show talked about it on Howard Stern. They all knew about it- I sent copies to them. We could have had at least five more episodes. It makes no sense to me.”

Spallone says the series, directed by James DiGiorgio, ended about five years ago. The first one came out in 1999.

“They did real well with it,” says Spallone. “They were fun making.”

I thought Spallone wound up meeting James Gandolfini. He corrects me to say it was his manager that he became friends with. Spallone also got to meet one of the Sopranos characters, Richie.

Interestingly, there were no scripts for The Sopornos. The whole thing was adlibbed from beginning to end and Spallone made up the stories. Flying by the seat of ones pants will create drama and Spallone says a lot of shit happened.

“I was supposed to kill somebody,” Spallone recalls.

“They were having sex, and I walked in. They had rented a gun with three blanks. The scene was the guy’s fucking a girl in a restaurant kitchen. It took us hours to light that and a walk-in freezer. I walk in and am supposed to get in an argument with the guy then take him into the walk-in freezer and shoot him. It was Tyce Bune. So I walk in and go what the fuck is going on here? He goes, ah fuck you, Bobby.

“Fuck me? And I shot him right there. Luckily the cameras were rolling because they caught it. They’re going, Rob, what the fuck are you doing? You were supposed to kill this guy in the next scene. I go, he shouldn’t have told me to fuck you. They said, Rob, it’s a movie. I said, don’t matter.”

“Tony Tedeschi was in a few of them,” Spallone continues. “He got killed in one of them and we were making another one a year later. He calls, can I be in it? How can you be in it, we killed you? Well, you never see me buried, he says. Can we go to the cemetery and I crawl out of the dirt or something? It wasn’t a comedy.”

Spallone remembers on another occasion that he’s supposed to beat up Di Giorgio. In the story Di Giorgio owes Spallone money and is a porn producer. He wants to borrow more money.

“I’m supposed to beat him up a little bit and I ended up giving him a bloody lip.” Spallone’s limo driver in the movie laughs at him on another occasion.

“I slammed his head in a car door about 20 times,” relates Spallone. “Dino Bravo was the best one. He was a boxer who was supposed to fix a fight. Ron Sullivan played his manager- Dino didn’t want to lose, so I shoved a whole cigar down his throat. I threw him over a desk and beat him with a telephone. Jim Malibu was shooting camera and going cut, cut, cut. He thought I was really killing the guy. We paid Dino a hundred bucks.”

According to Spallone, he was given an award for Best Non-Sex Performance.

“For the first one- why didn’t I get the award again?” says Spallone.

“They told me Paul Fishbein said I can’t get the award again because I’m playing the same part, and I’m not really acting. I’m being myself. So I told Ron Sullivan to make a movie where I play a gay guy. Show them I can act.”

Of the eight episodes, Spallone’s favorite was the first one. But he remembers another where he rented a yacht to do two scenes.

“This guy had an $8 million yacht brand new,” Spallone recalls. “We get there in the morning. This guy’s there with his wife and the owner of the boat. We get on the boat- I think there were 19 of us. He’s screaming and yelling I only have 16 life preservers. He’s carrying on, this guy.

“When we left here it was 8 in the morning and sunny as can be,” Spallone continues. “When we got to Marina del Rey you couldn’t see anything because of the fog. And cold. The guy gives us a speech, no smoking on his boat, none of this. He’s giving us a hard time from the get-go and I’m kissing his ass. We go out and do some dialogue. There’s a six girl orgy. One of the girls had to be back because she had to dance that night.

“So we rented a little boat to follow us and take her back,” Spallone goes on.

“There were a few reporters on the boat- one of them was a little Chinese guy, he had a hat. He looked like a lady. So all of a sudden the captain calls me upstairs. I go what’s the matter? Somebody’s smoking pot on my boat, he says. I said come on you’re kidding me. We walk downstairs. I go I smell nothing.

“He goes I smell it and said I’m stopping this boat right now. We’re not going anywhere, I can lose my license. I ask everybody and nobody’s smoking. That was about our third argument. Then I’m sitting up front with his wife and all of a sudden this little Asian reporter opens one of the drawers. He’s looking for something, a can opener.

“The lady said if that guy opens one more drawer I’m telling my husband Morrie- some Jew. This guy had the big Rolex on. The guy opens the drawer again and she screams for Morrie. I’m in shock. Morrie comes running down, picks the Asian guy up by the seat of his pants and threw him on the back of the boat. He tells him he’s not allowed back in. The waves are hitting him and he’s freezing.

“Now we’re going back to the dock and we have one more scene to shoot,” Spallone continues.

“The owner didn’t want no one at the dock to know we were shooting a porno on his boat. Johnny Carson’s yacht is there. Everybody. I said we’ll cover the windows- we only have six or seven people here and we’ll shoot it on the couch, is that okay. He says, yeah. All of a sudden people are getting off the boat and the guy grabs me.

“He’s yelling at me- you’re not shooting on that couch! That material is $400 a yard. Okay, we’ll put a blanket on it. Now he’s screaming and yelling. So I’m helping some people off with the stuff and he calls me back over. He goes, listen, I want an extra $500- I paid him in the morning. I go an extra 500? We only shot one scene. It was shitty weather and we’re going to do it here on the dock.”

Spallone then told him while it wasn’t in the budget he’d see if he could get the guy more money.

“Then he gets in an argument with somebody else and goes, that’s it. You’re not shooting anymore- off my boat! I lose it. Herschel Savage and Rod Fontana are trying to calm me down. The guy then closes the door with our camera equipment in there. He says he’s keeping our stuff, and I go fucking off.

“I’m yelling at the top of my lungs that we’re shooting a porno on his boat in Marina del Ray. His wife is going, call the police, call the Coast Guard! I said call who the fuck you want. Fontana opens the door and grabs our stuff. I’m telling the guy you’re fucking done. I call the bank on a Saturday and cancelled the guy’s check.

“The guy who brokered the deal said you can’t do that. What do you mean I can’t do that? This fuckin’ guy’s out of his mind. I’m not paying him. We didn’t get to finish the movie, fuck him. Now they’re calming me down and the lady’s going, please leave.”

Spallone then takes his group to Benihana’s. They pull into the parking lot.

“There’s this one girl, Natalie, who brings one of her best friends with her,” Spallone states.

“Now they’re arguing because the girl had to meet her boyfriend and it was getting late and we’re stopping to eat. Everybody goes inside- the one girl calls Natalie a fat ass and attacks her. They get in a brawl. Everybody else goes in the restaurant and I’m calming the girlfriend down. After 25 minutes we come walking in the bar. It’s packed the place. All our crew are at the bar drinking waiting for a table. They’re drunk, loud, screaming.

“Now we’re at the table and people are sitting there with the kids. I’m telling the girls take off your tops. They’re taking off their tops showing the guy cooking, their tits. People are going fucking crazy.”

Spallone says he cancelled the check and the broker calls him a week later and said now that everything’s calmed down, can he send another. Spallone asked him if he was fucking out of his mind and hangs up.

“Then I get a call from a lawyer who represented the fuckin’ Jew that owned the boat,” says Spallone. “He goes you better pay because we’re going to sue you. I said listen you’re client is a fuckin, arrogant piece of shit. He goes, you might be right, there.”

Spallone was also told through another party that he didn’t know who the yacht owner was connected to.

“Like he’s a fucking Jewish-Mafia guy,” laughs Spallone.

“I said tell that guy to suck my dick. So when the lawyer called I tell him to go fuck himself, and I tell Russ Hampshire what happened. Russ gets a phone call from one of the lawyers. They were going to sue VCA. How can you sue VCA? Rob Spallone shot the movie and sold it to VCA. I own the movie.

“So Russ calls me and he says, Rob, just fucking pay them. I said I’d rather them take me to court. I’ll sit in front of the judge and bring all the bimbos in and go are you fucking kidding me? This is what happened. He threatened us and tried to steal our equipment. Fuck him.”

“Russ then said, Rob, I don’t want problems, just pay it and I paid it. I hated paying it. There was some crazy shit going on.”

Asked if he shot behind the scenes for the features, Spallone quips that the whole thing was behind the scenes.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply