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B.J. Novak thought James Gandolfini would be 'incredible' on 'The Office'

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B.J. Novak said he tried to convince late "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini to join "The Office." File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/eadfcacc78c03f9ef9b9e070452b699f/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
B.J. Novak said he tried to convince late "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini to join "The Office." File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 1 (UPI) -- B.J. Novak says he tried to convince late Sopranos star James Gandolfini to join The Office.

The 42-year-old actor said on Thursday's episode of Watch What Happens Live that he thought Gandolfini would be "incredible" on The Office.

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Sopranos alums Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa had said on their Talking Sopranos podcast in July that HBO paid Gandolfini, who died at age 51 in 2013, $3 million to not appear on The Office.

On WWHL, Novak said he was at the meeting with Gandolfini where they discussed the actor replacing Steve Carell, who played Michael Scott, on the show. Novak said Gandolfini loved comedy, including The Office star Rainn Wilson's film The Rocker.

"He was shy and intrigued," Novak said of Gandolfini. "He's my favorite actor of all time in anything, so I just thought it would be great."

"To me, The Sopranos was actually the biggest influence on The Office, because of the way that comedy and drama and character were all completely indistinguishable," he added. "I thought he would have been an incredible replacement. I really, really wanted to work with him."

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Novak said he got the sense that Gandolfini wanted to join The Office. He also said the actor rejected their idea that he play a white-collar character on the show.

"He said something I'll never forget, which is he said, 'I feel as an actor, whoever comes out at 3 a.m., that's who you should be playing. At 3 a.m., what comes out of me is a blue-collar guy,'" Novak recalled.

The Office had a nine-season run on NBC from 2005 to 2013. On WWHL, Novak also played a game where he was asked to choose between pairs of his Office co-stars, including who had the most intimidating aura.

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