There may have been others [who switched roles], but those are the ones I knew of, so there weren’t many. I wanted to be one of those guys. So I said sure, but first let me talk to Jim. So I called up Gandolfini. I said, look, I got to meet you. I got to talk to you about something.

And so he met me in New York. And he pulled up in his car and we pulled around the corner and he parked there. And you know, suddenly I’m in a “Sopranos” episode. And I - I said, first of all, do you want to go back in? No. I’m done. I said, OK. They’ve offered me the chance to go back in. He goes, really? I said, yeah, in your role. And he just started laughing at me. Just started laughing. And he goes, you should do it because I want to see what you do in such a such a speech, because I hated that speech. I said, OK. If I have your permission I’ll do it, but I don’t want to screw the friendship up. And he couldn’t have been nicer and more supportive and actually came to see it and, you know, was very nice about it.

And then we did it a year later. We did it in LA. We brought the original Broadway cast back. And I was sincerely, genuinely very happy to go back to the other role and I felt like I - that’s the role I owned. Doing Jim’s role, I felt like I was renting it. I really did. I may have done it differently, but I certainly didn’t improve on what he did, that’s for sure.
Jeff Daniels on Fresh Air re: taking over co-star James Gandolfini’s role in ‘God of Carnage’.
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