Portrait of American musician and actor Steven van Zandt (aka Little Steven, Miami Steve), The Hague, Netherlands, 6th October 2021. (Photo by Paul Bergen/Redferns)
TV - Movies
The Inspiration
Behind The
Sopranos' Silvio
Dante Isn't What
You'd Expect
Throughout "The Sopranos" six-season run, Stev Van Zandt portrayed Silvio Dante, a member of the DiMeo crime family and part of Tony Soprano's crew. The character of Silvio might not have as deep a storyline as Christopher Moltisanti or Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero, but the show wouldn't have been the same without him.
In a 2012 interview, Van Zandt reflected on how show creator David Chase initially wanted him as the leading man, but HBO was hesitant because of his lack of acting experience. Chase offered to write a brand new part for Van Zandt, but the aspiring actor beat him to the punch.
Upon deciding to pivot to acting, Van Zandt had penned a few story concepts, including one centering on Silvio Dante, an independent hitman who had just retired. While the character ends up far from retired, Chase liked his idea and together they fleshed Silvio out into a fundamental aspect of the series.