Chris Rock turned down multiple invitations to join ‘The Sopranos’.
The 56-year-old comedian-and-actor has revealed that he declined a number of offers to appear in the critically acclaimed HBO Mafia drama, because he had just launched ‘The Chris Rock Show’ and as a huge fan of Tony Soprano's TV crime family he didn’t “want to spoil it” with a poor performance or by being miscast.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the 56-year-old stand-up comic said: “Sometimes you can respect something so much, you don’t even want to be a part of it. Years ago, when I had my own show on HBO, it was at the height of ‘The Sopranos’, and I got a couple of offers to be on ‘The Sopranos,’ and I was like, ‘I like it too much, I don’t want to spoil it.' "
Chris also explained why, despite turning down shows like 'The Sopranos' in the past, he was more than happy to accept 'Fargo' writer Noah Hawley’s invitation to join the latest series, with a big factor in his decision being that Hawley is able to put himself into the shoes of black characters with the proof being how he wrote for Bokeem Woodbine's character Mike Milligan.
He said: “I thought [Noah] wanted me to host his wife’s charity event or something. [‘Fargo’] is a big job… I was such a fan [of ‘Fargo’], I took the meeting anyway, and then he presents me with this offer, and I’m like, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I’m down.’ Because I saw how he handled Bokeem Woodbine.
“Sometimes people do amazing work and then when they handle black people, it’s horrible. But with [Hawley], I saw how he handled Bokeem and I was like, 'I can totally be in your hands. Once you see that, you go, ‘OK, this guy [Hawley] has no problem putting himself in that character’s shoes.’
"I write, right? So, when you hand a studio a script, what you notice a lot of times is everyone gives you notes of the character they most identify with … Now the problem is that some people have a hard time imagining they’re black, so there’s no notes on the lead if he’s black. Or if the lead girl is black, there are no notes from the white women. Because they couldn’t step into it. But Noah had no problem being Bokeem, and that’s why it’s written so well.”