Valentina La Paz Sopranos

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Leslie Bega wanted the part of an FBI agent on ‘The Sopranos’

James Gandolfini and Leslie Bega in a scene from ‘The Sopranos’ | HBO

While Bega pushed to audition for FBI agent Deborah Ciccerone, casting directors weren’t particularly worried about that part. Their main priority when Bega entered the picture was Tony’s new “goomar” Valentina. And the production needed Valentina immediately.

“I said, ‘I’ll audition for Valentina if you let me audition for the FBI agent,” Bega recalled on the Talking Sopranos podcast. The casting director agreed, but Bega only had until the following morning to get her audition tape from L.A. to New York. And it was near the end of the day in L.A.

So Bega had to hustle both auditions onto her video (i.e., VHS) tape and rush it to the FedEx drop before the cutoff for overnight shipments. She made it, and the following day she heard from the Sopranos casting director in New York. They wanted her to get on a plane that night.

“I said, ‘I need to know my odds [of getting the part],” Bega recalled. “‘Because flying to New York is a big trip. I can do it, I just need to know the odds.’ And they said, ‘No no no — you have the part.” She hopped on that plane.

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