Gina Wilhelm Actress – Edie Falco, No Longer a Soprano
Edie Falco rose to prominence on HBO’s “The Sopranos,” playing Carmela Soprano for eight years and winning three Emmys in the process.
Now she can be seen playing the title character on Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie.” Falco says the characters couldn’t be more different.
Carmela was long-suffering. Jackie, on the other hand, is a self-styled vigilante with a pill habit.
She explains that Jackie is willing to go to any length to get what she wants, even if it means breaking the law, stepping on other people, or flushing a patient’s ear down the toilet.
Falco was able to relate to Jackie’s addiction. She’s a recovering alcoholic who is 17 years sober.
The single mother of two had a lot of struggles before she suddenly hit it really big on “The Sopranos.”
She was inspired to act by her mother’s work in community theater. After studying acting at the State University of New York at Purchase, her early struggling years turned into more than a decade of work.
She kept waiting for her big break, but she never gave up on acting. She says until the ’90s, she was always “one step above homelessness.”
She says the constant money worries of that time were far more harrowing for her than getting sober or her bout with breast cancer.
The only “day job” she could take was waitressing. However, she gave up on waitressing when she gave up drinking.
After getting to play a number of recurring roles in a number of different shows as well as an extra role that grew into a speaking role in Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway,” she finally got her break.
It very nearly didn’t happen, though. She had been cast in a television series based on the movie “Fargo” with her playing Police Chief Marge Gunderson, the part Frances McDormand played in the film.
She had thought that would be her big break. Marge Gunderson had earned McDormand an Oscar, and the series was directed by Kathy Bates.
When the pilot didn’t get picked up, Falco was devastated. On the other hand, if she had done that series, she wouldn’t have been available to do “The Sopranos.”
The experience has caused her to be more philosophic. “That taught me to sit back and let things happen the way they’re supposed to.”