HBO whacks 'Sopranos' filming
Network suspends March 24 shooting, saying it made Gandolfini an offer he can't refuse.
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - HBO has suspended shooting for its hit series "The Sopranos" due to a contract dispute with James Gandolfini, who portrays mob boss Tony Soprano.
HBO sent a note to about 300 staff members telling them not to report to work on March 24, the first scheduled day of taping for the series' fifth season, a spokesman for the cable network told CNNfn Thursday.
The dispute with Gandolfini has grown bitter and increasingly public. Published reports have indicated that HBO offered to double the star's current salary, which is $400,000 an episode, but that Gandolfini is demanding $1 million per show.
An HBO spokesman said the two sides were not in touch Wednesday and that no progress has been made in the ongoing contract dispute.
HBO made the decision to suspend production because there was no clear indication from Gandolfini that he would report to work on March 24.
"Gandolfini's agent is playing coy," the HBO spokesman said.
His reasoning, according to HBO, is that if he shows up to work on the 24th, it would negate his pending lawsuit in California court and tie him into the full production.
After the actor filed a lawsuit claiming breach of contract, HBO sued in a Los Angeles court seeking $100 million in damages.
"Jimmy purports to care about the other actors, his crew," an HBO source told New York's Daily News. "Well, he's about to put them out of work because he's a greedy pig."
Dan Klores, a spokesman for Gandolfini, said the two-time Emmy Award-winning actor feels stronger than ever, especially now since HBO has sued him in court.