Nurse Jackie is Edie Falco’s first show since The Sopranos, which means her co-star Dominic Fumusa has some big shoes to fill: He’s playing her husband, a role last held by James Gandolfini. “We both have Italian names — other than that there’s not a tremendous similarity,” insists Dominic, a Madison, Wis., native who most recently played a skydiving instructor in the Jennifer Aniston movie Management. And indeed, it looks like this time around, it’s Edie who gets to be bad — as an adulterous, pill-popping hospital worker. “She’s the one doing the Tony stuff!” says Dominic.
Read on as he explains how the highly anticipated Showtime series, which debuts on June 8 — is the anti-Sopranos.
You were actually on The Sopranos once — did you work with Edie?
I only worked with Michael Imperioli. I played his cousin. I had met her socially and I was always aware of who she was. And in the final stages before I was offered the job she was kind enough to say, “I remember you.” She’s a very generous person and made me feel very welcome right away. She’s so down to earth and kind and normal! She’s just a really good person and obviously freakishly talented.
But Nurse Jackie isn’t like that show?
Very consciously, they’ve made an effort to go almost as far away from The Sopranos world as they can. It doesn’t fit into that typical comedy or drama place. Edie can be really funny, but she has a great dramatic quality about her. I think it will be different from most of the shows people are used to seeing. A lot of the lightness in the script is often with me and the kids. It’s my role in the story to offer the flip side of the darker stuff that’s going on.
You play Edie’s husband, but she’s cheating on him.
On the surface, my character is nothing but supportive and loving. He’s definitely a good husband. He owns a bar and it’s actually a real bar that’s about five or six blocks from the studio in Queens. It’s a great little bar that comes across as a warm, local dive that everybody loves to go to. I have yet to shoot anything in the hospital. Her boyfriend at the hospital doesn’t know anything about her husband and the kids and they don’t know anything about him.
And there’s another Sopranos twist: her lover is played by the actor who played Father Phil, right?
Paul Schulze. He’s great. I don’t want to give anything away, but toward the end of the season, something happens where our paths cross. It’s going to get ugly!