Robert Iler never wanted to be an actor, but for the last 10 years, we’ve seen him grow up on camera as Anthony “A.J.” Soprano Jr., the trouble-making son of mob boss Tony Soprano. From the set of “The Sopranos,” Iler took a few minutes while filming his final scenes to talk to the Resident about being part of TV history.
You are in the middle of shooting right now, how is it to film on location so much?
RI: I think it’s great. To have a show that’s based in New York and have to film it out in L.A. – I’ve never done it, but I feel like it would be a lot more difficult than actually being here. We get to shoot at these great locations in New York and New Jersey and it’s cool too because we’re not actually locked up in a stage, we’re out and we’re interacting with people and people see us. We go to Jersey a lot, and people over there treat us really great, and they love the show, so we get a lot of good, positive feedback.
Why do people love the show so much?
RI: Anything that’s mob related people seem to like a lot, but I also think the acting, James Gandolfini. I think Edie Falco is one of the greatest actresses I’ve ever seen. I think the talent is amazing. I think the writing is amazing. I think the directing is amazing. I think people love it because it’s harder to find what’s not good about the show than what is good.
What’s it like to wrap up the show?
RI: I haven’t had my last day yet, so I don’t think it’s really set in. But it’s definitely sad and it’s hard to be sad around these people because we always have such a good time.
Do you have a favorite memory?
RI: My greatest memory of this show will always be the friends that I’ve made and how great people can be on a set, and how friendly everybody can be. Just to learn the lesson that you can do a show for 10 years and everybody can honestly and truly get along and have a good time.
What’s it like working with such a great cast?
RI: They’ve become people who I don’t feel are my cast mates anymore, I feel like they’re my friends. We all get along so well and people I’ll be best friends with for the rest of my life I’ve met on this show.
As Tony’s youngest child, you were the baby of the show. What did you learn from the other cast members?
RI: I was definitely the baby. When I started I didn’t want to be an actor, and now I have such a passion for it and it’s because of all these great people who I’ve gotten to work with and so they all took part in me wanting to be an actor for the rest of my life. You don’t have to sit, you don’t have to listen, but if you choose to learn from them, you could learn so much just from watching them and just from talking to them.
Are you anything like your character?
RI: He was a teenager and he was going through teenaged stuff and so was I. I think it’s a fun character to play, because sometimes you just want to step out of your character and smack him in the face, but other times you sit there and you’re like: He’s not such a bad guy. He’s a pretty cool guy.
Now that you’re moving on; what kind of characters would you like to play?
RI: I started when I was 12 years old working on “Sopranos,” which to me is some of the best writing in the world and our directors are so amazing, and the actors are so amazing. If I could find work for the rest of my life that’s half as good as this, I would be happy. It’s hard to shoot higher than this, when this, to me, is the best show to work on in the world.