The role of Nucky Thompson might have been completely different, if the original casting arrangement went through. An Oct. 7 report from Deadline states that “Boardwalk Empire” creator Terence Winter had thought about casting James Gandolfini as the show’s lead. The “Sopranos” star was “one of the first names” brought up, when Winter and others were thinking about who should play Nucky.
“Not only had we just worked with him, but he also bore such an uncanny resemblance to the actual Nucky,” Winter added.
But Winter admitted that Gandolfini was not given serious consideration, since he had just finished playing the iconic character, Tony Soprano. Other names came up, and then executive producer Martin Scorsese suggested picking an actor they “really like and want to work with.” And that’s when it was decided that Steve Buscemi would get the role.
“Then Marty called me up and said, ‘I can’t stop thinking about Steve Buscemi,’” Winter said. “I said, ‘I can’t either.’ And that was it.”
“Boardwalk Empire” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.