Imperioli (Christopher on The Sopranos) takes on the role of a Mets catcher in
the movie version of Mitch Albom's novel For One More Day, airing Dec. 9 on
ABC. The 41-year-old Mount Vernon, N.Y., native has a black belt in
SI: You met with
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada (below) to prepare for this movie, right?
Imperioli: Yes. He
was my favorite player even before I did this. I wanted to talk about the
mental aspect of being a catcher. They're like shrinks, helping pitchers stay
connected to the game. Pitchers tend to be idiosyncratic, and there's a
solitary aspect to the job. The catcher is kind of their lifeline.
SI: Is playing a
Met heresy for a Yankees fan?
acting, everything is O.K. If it's all right that I put someone's head through
a window, then I guess it's O.K. to wear a Mets uniform.
SI: How much of a
Yankees fan are you, anyway?
Imperioli: We were
shooting [For One More Day] near Massachusetts, and the Red Sox organization
called and asked if I wanted to throw out the first ball at Fenway. I said I
would do it only if I could wear a Yankees uniform. They didn't go for
SI: Did athletes
reach out to you to say they liked The Sopranos?
best was when I got a call two years ago from a lawyer for Muhammad Ali (right)
saying, "Muhammad wants to meet you. He's a fan of the show." I was
stunned. I invited them to the set, but I kept thinking, This is not going to
happen. But Ali came! I brought him in, and he got an ovation from the whole
crew. Everyone stopped working for a half hour. Some people were crying. He
went up to everyone, shook hands; it was unbelievable. I don't think people
would have reacted the same way if it were the Pope.
SI: Did Ali get an
audience with Tony Soprano?