Drea de Matteo reviews a new book that highlights James Gandolfini’s battles with drugs

Drea de Matteo reviews a new book that highlights James Gandolfini’s battles with drugs

Drea de Matteo has criticized a new book that highlights the drug battles of her “Sopranos” co-star James Gandolfini.

The 52-year-old actress, best known for playing Christopher Moltisanti’s girlfriend Adriana La Cerva on the hit HBO mob series alongside James – who was killed by a heart attack at the age of 51 in 2013 – has spoken out about the actor’s mention of demons in Mark Kamine’s “On Locations: Lessons Learned from My Life On Set with The Sopranos and in the Film Industry.”

She told Page Six: “It’s just kind of a cash grab for this guy.”

Drea added that she felt compelled to speak out because she is “very close to Jim’s wife, his widow and his daughter,” and insists that Mark’s account of the actor is “not accurate.”

She went on to say that James was a “truly incredible person” and “so much more than anything (Mark) wrote.”

Drea added: “Jim was an angel, and I guess it’s because he was an angel that he’s not here anymore.”

She also questioned the timing of the book’s release, which hit bookstores just weeks after the 25th anniversary of The Sopranos, adding: “Italians don’t like to cash in like that. We don’t like that.”

Producer Mark worked on all six seasons of “The Sopranos” and briefly recalls in his book how James struggled with drug addiction while playing mobster Tony Soprano.

He says the actor arrived four hours late to film a season five episode after spending the night before in Atlantic City, and ended up “swearing while rehearsing his half-rehearsed lines” and “doing take after take” while “drinking coffees and bottles of water.”

Mark added that he was “alternately sheepish and rude, as he always is when he makes mistakes.”

He added that HBO had added a clause to James’ “increasingly unreliable” contract that made him liable for “day-of-shoot expenses if he missed work due to overindulgence.”

Mark told Page Six of Drea’s outrage: “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, whether they’ve read the book or not, I guess.”

James’ drug abuse has been widely reported, and sources told author James Andrew Miller for his book “Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers” that the actor’s drug and alcohol use was so extreme that they feared he would die while filming “The Sopranos.”