A new book claims that James Gandolfini’s drug and alcohol abuse was so severe that HBO executives were concerned he could die filming The Sopranos.

Gandolfini was the charismatic and intense star of the series throughout 1999 to 2007. He had previously struggled with alcohol abuse and succumbed to substance abuse and passed away in 2013.

And when he was cast as mobster Tony Soprano, his demons resurfaced, sources told author James Andrew Miller for his book Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, published on November 16.

Jeff Bewkes CEO of HBO, 1995-2002, stated that they were concerned about Gandolfini being alive. 

“Occasionally, he’d go on a bender and a cocaine binge. 

“We had to suspend production.”

James Gandolfini is seen playing Tony Soprano in the hit HBO series, that ran from 1999 to 2007

James Gandolfini plays Tony Soprano on the HBO hit series. It ran from 1999 through 2007.

Gandolfini is seen with his Soprano costars on set. At times the actor would fail to show up, messing up the schedule and costing HBO millions, but he was then so contrite he managed to get away with it

Gandolfini and his Soprano co-stars are seen on set. He would sometimes fail to appear on schedule, costing HBO millions. However, he was so sorry that he could get away with it.

Jeff Bewkes, the CEO of HBO, said he was worried about Gandolfini 'staying alive'

Jeff Bewkes (the CEO of HBO) said that he worried about Gandolfini’s’maintenance alive’

Miller wrote: “Tony Soprano’s struggles onscreen often mirror his own, but sometimes amplified them.” 

“So, there was a part in Gandolfini who wanted to quit the show. He understood that Tony had to be connected with his darker side to become Tony. 

Miller has written a book about the success of HBO, and told of the struggles to see The Sopranos through to the finale

Miller wrote a book on the successes of HBO and the difficulties in bringing The Sopranos to its conclusion.

He said that he was not just an actor, but also had to pay the price of playing Tony. He was adamant that he didn’t know what this meant for him.

Gandolfini once explained: ‘When I was 20 or 18, it started, and it progressed through the years.’

According to him, he was charged with DUI in 1997. 

Bewkes said that Gandolfini sometimes failed to turn up on set, which ‘was hard on the other actors’ schedules.’ 

Bewkes stated that he didn’t press Chris Albrecht (then-chairman HBO) about Gandolfini, because he thought Jimmy was embarrassed. 

Bewkes claimed that he worried about Gandolfini’s ability to enable him.

Bewkes was unhappy about the wine quality at the Golden Globes. Gandolfini brought along bottles of Italian wine and placed them under the table. Everyone loved it. 

Bewkes said, “Like he’d be embarrassed to know he’s drinking at the table,” 

“I thought it would help him calm down.” I suppose I was dumb. 

James Gandolfini is seen in January 2005, at a pre Golden Globes party hosted by HBO's chairman Chris Albrecht at the Chateau Marmont hotel in LA. The following night he was supposed to host, but was too drunk before the show

James Gandolfini seen pre-Golden Globes at party at Chateau marmont Hotel in LA hosted by Chris Albrecht. He was scheduled to host the next night, but got too drunk just before.

Michael Imperioli is seen at the Golden Globes, presenting an award alongside Patricia Arquette because James Gandolfini was too drunk to do it

Michael Imperioli, who presented an award with Patricia Arquette to the Golden Globes because James Gandolfini was drunk enough not to participate, is seen here

The 2005 Golden Globes were even more troubled.

Gandolfini had been supposed to accept an award. However, the crew couldn’t find him.

He eventually was found out by the Beverly Hilton making snow angels on his lawn.

Gandolfini’s co-star Michael Imperioli, who played Tony’s nephew Christopher Moltisanti, took over at the last minute.

Gandolfini is seen playing Tony Soprano in the hit HBO series

Gandolfini appears as Tony Soprano, in the HBO drama series

An intervention was attempted by the Sopranos team.

Gandolfini was invited by Albrecht to Albrecht’s apartment at Museum Tower, Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center. He thought he would have a casual meal.

Albrecht said that although he didn’t think Miller was worried about his death, he did recall them having problems with filming the show. 

“It caused a loss of respect for all the actors and there was an increase in problems.”

Gandolfini was welcomed by about 12 people, including David Chase (the series’ creator) and other family members.

Miller wrote that the group of friends, relatives, and coworkers had spent two days practicing scenarios. Miller also noted that Miller had a private plane on hand to transport Gandolfini from rehab.

Miller writes that Miller’s entire intervention lasted only ten seconds. 

‘Gandolfini walked into the apartment, saw everyone, sized up the situation in a snap, and immediately barked, “Oh, f*** this. F*** all of you.” 

‘Glowering at Albrecht, Gandolfini dared him with “Fire me,” then stormed out. 

‘While the others sat stunned, one of Gandolfini’s sisters chased her brother down the hall and begged him to come back.

“But Jimmy was not having it.” 

The casket of Gandolfini is escorted into the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine for funeral services in New York on June 27, 2013

Gandolfini’s casket is taken to the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York for the funeral services on June 27, 2013.

Gandolfini’s passing caused sadness throughout the globe and ripples across Hollywood.

He was still married to Deborah Lin (actress), at the time of his passing. With Deborah Lin, he also had Liliane, who is now nine years old. 

Michael was just 14 years old when his father died in Rome. His younger brother, Michael, played the role of a young Tony Soprano, in HBO’s prequel movie Many Saints of Newark. It premiered in October.

Michael, now 22, is the son of Gandolfini and his first wife, film producer Marcy Wudarski.