Skip to main content

Why Lin-Manuel Miranda Says Sopranos Fans Shouldn't Call His Appearance A 'Cameo'

Lin-Manuel Miranda on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
(Image credit: NBC)

Today, Lin-Manuel Miranda is widely known as an award-winning playwright, singer, songwriter, actor and director. But long before the writer of the hit Encanto song “We Don't Talk About Bruno” birthed the highly profitable Hamilton, he was an actor simply trying to make his way in Hollywood. Miranda snagged a number of roles during those early days, but his most high-profile gig came in the form of a role on The Sopranos. The actor still remembers the experience quite vividly and, according to him, those who are now finding out about the part shouldn’t consider it a “cameo.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda appeared during the final season of the acclaimed mob drama (which can be streamed with an HBO Max subscription). In the Season 6 episode, titled “Remember When,” Miranda appears as a bellman working at a hotel that Tony Soprano and Paulie Gualtieri stop by during a road trip. The actor is only a screen for a brief amount of time, which is why he said, while being interviewed for the Judd Apatow-written book Sicker in the Head: More Conversations About Life and Comedy (via IndieWire), that he doesn’t even think it can be classified as a cameo:

I went on lots of voiceover auditions and acting auditions, and the only thing I booked was The Sopranos, as a bellboy; I say, ‘I don’t know’ twice. I’m so green you can see me look down at my mark. Watch it if you get a chance, because now people are like ‘Lin-Manuel’s cameo on The Sopranos!’ It wasn’t a cameo. I wasn’t even in the union yet.

Given his star status today, it’s only natural that fans would now note that the one and only Lin-Manuel Miranda cameoed on HBO’s The Sopranos. In the context of 2007 though, his appearance wasn’t nearly as significant as the cameos Martin Scorsese, Annette Bening and others made on the series during its run. Check out his performance on the show in the clip down below:

Regardless of the size of the role, Miranda was just happy to have the work, and he relished his time on the set. In the same interview, he even went on to divulge a sweet memory of the show’s leading man, James Gandolfini:

My one story about Gandolfini was that he stayed and did his sides even though it was the end of the night. He had no need to do that. He stayed and did the scene for the scared-shitless Puerto Rican kid in the bellhop outfit.

The late James Gandolfini may be known for his acclaimed TV work and successful film career but, in the years since his death in 2013, many have also made note of his immense kindness. Fellow series alum Drea de Matteo once revealed that Gandolfini personally saw to it that his co-stars were reimbursed after being screwed out of money. But aside from gestures like that, it seems the cast of The Sopranos simply loved working with him and appreciated his collaborative spirit. Based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s comments, he was the beneficiary of such support as well.

It’s amazing to see how things have unfolded for the man who crafted the critically acclaimed In the Heights, and he’s still showing no signs of slowing down. He’s had a number of great moments in the years since his TV debut, though one would think that he’ll continue to hold his time on the set of David Chase’s iconic show close to his heart, regardless of whether his role is considered a cameo.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.