With rabid fans, multiple Emmy awards under its belt and a solid place in history as a modern classic, "The Sopranos" comes to a close this year after 10 years and six seasons. "Access Hollywood" was at the red carpet for the premiere of the final stretch of episodes, and got the scoop on how the stars feel about reaching the end of the show's journey (and just why did Vincent "Big Pussy" Pastore quit "Dancing With the Stars" anyway?).
The actors told "Access" what the end means to them:
Edie Falco (Carmela Soprano): "I am really sad — it's not even mixed emotions. ... I think we've really come to believe that it's over. You know we had these false endings a bunch of times, and I think we're realizing, 'Oh, wow, (series creator David Chase) really means it.' We're done."
Lorraine Bracco (Dr. Jennifer Melfi): "I'm emotional. I just can't believe that this is all for a wonderful TV show that we've been working on for 10 years. I just find it pretty great."
Aida Turturro (Janice Soprano): "Well, I came the second year. I mean I just fit right in. They wrote a great person, and I'm so lucky that I got to be part of the family. Right from the start, and I just felt like I was. Just by everybody being so wonderful, welcoming, and you know ... I was nervous today, and I didn't realize I'm emotional. I'm kind of a little sad about it. I mean I'm pretty emotional but ... everybody's sad about it."
Robert Iler (Anthony "A.J." Soprano Jr.): "Yeah, I mean it's really sad, you know. We're finishing, and we're starting to realize it day by day, and I mean, every time you read the last script and you turn the last page it gets sadder and sadder. ... It's sad that we're not going to be working together, but we're still going to see each other just as much, if not more, because we'll have time off!"
Jamie-Lynn Sigler (Meadow Soprano): "I was 16 when we started, and it's been almost 10 years — all of my formative years were spent on this show."
Vincent Pastore (Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero): "It's like the end of something, you know? It's a really important night for everybody — I'm proud of everybody."
Were any members of "The Sopranos" cast forthcoming about what to expect in the last episode? Not so much. Mum's the word on that one, especially when it comes to the question of who might not quite make it to the end credits. "Bloodshed on 'Sopranos?'" said a joking Steve Van Zandt (Silvio Dante). "You got us mixed up with 'Sex and the City.' I'll tell you this one thing, but keep it between us. At some point during the last show, some of us sit down and have Italian food. Between us."
Despite the sadness, the stars kept things light, especially when "Access" asked: Why did Vincent Pastore quit "Dancing With the Stars" at the last minute?
Tony Sirico ("Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri) joked that Vince was "too heavy in the belly." David Proval claimed that Vince didn't want to overshadow Fred Astaire, and Van Zandt thought that the "Dancing" contestants were lucky he dropped out because "he would of won it all — he's good!"
But Pastore himself decided to set the record straight:
"The truth of the matter is I should've kinda 'tested' before I said yes. It was really tough dancing. It was really tough on the legs. In fact, today is the first day I'm not walking with a cane. That's the truth of the matter. I wish everybody all of the success on ABC, it's a great show, but I wasn't up for it — I went to three or four rehearsals, and that was it. I knew to get out before I made a fool out of myself."
The first episode of the final half of Season 6 of "The Sopranos" premieres on April 8 on HBO.