THE SOPRANOS star Dominic Chianese missed out on his first big break when he had to turn down a role in The Godfather.

The actor, who plays ageing Mob boss UNCLE JUNIOR, in the drama series, reveals he was approached to play one of the leading characters in the first Godfather film by director Francis Ford Coppola himself, but he had to turn the role down.

He explains, "I didn't even think about Hollywood until

1970 when Francis Ford Coppola called me into the Paramount building and he was going to put me in The Godfather.

"I went off to Boston to do a play and I didn't even come back for the call back. It's true!

"Later on, he (Coppola) remembered me for THE GODFATHER II (as JOHNNY OLA) - so he made a film career for me after all."

Chianese insists he still has no regrets about turning down a bigger part in the original movie: "It didn't even bother me. I was a theatre person. I didn't want to drive a car and go to Los Angeles. It never appealed to me."

29/12/2004 01:16