James Gandolfini's film debut, with his voice dubbed by... me?

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Yesterday, I learned something so jaw-droppingly odd that I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. Turns out there's only one degree of separation between me and James Gandolfini, of

The Sopranos


How? Because I dubbed his voice in the scene on view here -- an excerpt from his heretofore unknown film debut, a late '80s cult flick called Shock! Shock! Shock!

Here's the very strange story.

Shock! Shock! Shock! was made by Arn McConnell and Todd Rutt, good friends of mine from my hometown of Grand Junction who relocated to New York City. They shot the film, released by Rhino Home Video in 1988, on 8 millimeter and added the sound later -- and as a lark, they asked me to record the voice of an orderly who gets knocked out by the star of the show, Brad Schwartz. (Brad, who became a pal of mine, too, was credited as Brad Isaac.)

Cut to yesterday, when McConnell put the following note on his Facebook page:

I watched [Shock! Shock! Shock!] for the first time in 12 years last night at the request of a friend who hadn't seen it. Saw "Jim Gandolfini" in the credits as the orderly and recalled that actor was a friend of our lead actor. Looked at the scene again and thought, "Could be." Contacted Todd Rutt today, who contacted Brad Isaac, our lead actor, who said yes, he and the future Tony Soprano had met in a theatre class, had been good friends for a number of years and acted like it was no big deal.

Maybe not to Brad, who's been active in the St. Louis theater community for years. But I can't help being amazed and amused, particularly in light of my astonishingly stiff line readings (even the "oof!" sounds phony) in the sequence above.

Obviously, my ineptitude did nothing to hamper Gandolfini's subsequent career. Even so, I still feel a responsibility to say, "I'm sorry." And "thank you."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.