It might be old news but it’s a good bet that a lot of people didn’t know about the issue that arose between HBO and James Gandolfini back in the day when the fourth season had been wrapped. James apparently hadn’t been told that there was going to be a fifth season, which would be a serious mistake on HBO’s part since it might be nice to inform their actors that there was a plan to keep the show going. James might have been planning on moving on to something else, but HBO was planning on keeping him around for a while. The biggest issue came down to the one thing that almost always becomes the focus of such moments, money. James wanted to renegotiate his contract and earn $20 million rather than the $11 million that he’d been earning at that point, which is hard to imagine really since it feels insanely greedy and not at all worthy of those that are already being made millionaires with such roles. James was actually going to sue to get paid more, but HBO decided to countersue for a whopping $100 million since without James on the show they would have lost a ton of revenue and they were ready and willing to make his wallet hurt for it.
The fact that issues in Hollywood boil down to money so often isn’t surprising, but it’s saddening to think that people making hundreds of thousands of dollars per episode might be put out by realizing that they have a chance to make more money by playing a character that they’ve already been doing so great with. Far be it from me to speak ill of the deceased, but there is the feeling that James could have simply accepted that HBO wanted him back and was already paying him millions of dollars, more than many will make in their lifetimes, rather than try to sue for more. The fact that hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars are thrown around when it comes to hiring big celebrities makes one thing that perhaps the celebs should be reminded of what it’s like to work a low-wage paying job before they start to gripe about not making the extra millions they want. Plenty of celebrities have come from simpler backgrounds and have had to work for a living before making their way to the top, but once a person reaches that peak it would appear that many of them tend to forget what it was like to have to scratch and scrape their way to the top, which is why it might be necessary to remind them from time to time.
There’s no truly effective way to do this since many people will stick up for celebrities by stating that they’ve earned what they have, and in a lot of cases this is true, and there are plenty of them that appreciate what they have and what they receive for each movie and TV show they do. But stories such as this make it a bit obvious that no matter how good a person is or how they came up, there are plenty of times when actors appear to be a little too greedy and don’t happen to think that making millions is good enough, they want to make even more. Some might even argue that James was completely justified in asking for more, but that’s beside the point at this time since that’s all over and done with. The simple fact that remains is that there are times when actors tend to ask for way too much in the eyes of those that are helping to make them popular. Making an insane amount of money to pretend to be someone else is how a lot of people would describe acting, while others might cite the idea that some actors do go through a very rigorous process that involves a lot more than just acting. While it’s true that some people have to endure sitting in a makeup chair for hours on end and some folks suffer even more for their craft, the fact is that they get into this profession with the knowledge that they’ll be expected to perform one way or another.
It’s likely that there’s more to this story than was released since trying to blame one side or the other entirely would be kind of a bad idea since not allowing James to know that there was a season 5 coming at that time was something that HBO should have thought about before deciding it would be an okay idea to spring it on him. When all is said and done though, total transparency isn’t something that people tend to receive a lot of the time in any profession, no matter that a lot of people tend to value it, or so they say.