Jamie-Lynn Sigler 'Very Much Felt' James Gandolfini's Presence While Recreating 'Sopranos' Opening Credits

Jamie-Lynn Sigler tells PEOPLE about starring in Chevy's Super Bowl commercial, recreating the opening credits of The Sopranos and reuniting with her on-screen brother, Robert Iler

Jamie Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler
Jamie Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler. Photo: Chevrolet

Jamie-Lynn Sigler is returning to her Sopranos roots — and she couldn't be happier.

The actress, who played Meadow Soprano in the HBO hit from 1999-2007, recently got to revisit her iconic role when she starred in Chevrolet's Super Bowl ad for its all-electric 2024 Silverado EV.

As fans of The Sopranos likely noticed, the commercial was a modern recreation of the show's iconic opening credit sequence, which featured Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) driving from Manhattan to New Jersey in his 1999 Chevy Suburban.

In Sunday's commercial, it was Sigler who was behind the wheel — and in a sweet twist at the end, the actress reunites with her Sopranos costar Robert Iler, who played her on-screen brother, A.J. Soprano.

"It was so exciting," Sigler, 40, tells PEOPLE. "Robert and I are still best friends. We're so close... What we experienced together was very unique. The Sopranos was a once-in-a-lifetime thing in many ways. It was 10 years of our lives and we were kids and we grew up on that show, and so this just takes you right back. We couldn't have asked for a cooler experience."

Because Sigler was stepping into the place of her late TV dad, she says that it was nearly impossible to not think of the late actor while filming the ad. (Gandolfini died in June 2013 at age 51 after suffering a heart attack.)

"Whenever we do anything with Sopranos, your first thought is always Jim," she says. "He was, particularly, Robert and I's biggest supporters and biggest fans, so there were many mentions of him."

"His presence was very much felt throughout it all, of course, because anything we ever do having to do with Sopranos, he is there," she continues. "And just the thought of that opening sequence with him, it's so iconic. He always drove that Chevy Suburban everywhere. It's how we close our eyes and picture Tony Soprano."

Sigler also shares how it was "a really amazing moment" being able to revisit her role as Meadow.

"Even getting direction from [creator] David Chase and seeing our old camera operators that we had worked with throughout the seasons... It was this eerie thing where Robert and I both said, 'We could hop back into playing these characters in a heartbeat,' " she recalls. "It was really cool to get a moment to experience that."

Jamie Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler
Jamie Lynn Sigler and Robert Iler hugging. Chevrolet

With the recent resurgence of the series over the last two years, Sigler says she feels the commercial does a nice job ushering in the new generation of the Soprano family, as well as the new audiences who are currently watching the series.

"It's a perfect marriage and it all made perfect sense," she says. "Even for me, when it was airing, I was probably too young to appreciate it or watch it. So I found that a lot of people in my generation revisit it or have experienced it for the first time over the past couple of years, and I think that's awesome."

"The fact that the show still holds up so many years later is because David [Chase] is a master storyteller and they were flawed characters," she continues. "That was quite a revelation at the time... now we're used to really getting in-depth and not hiding the light and the dark of who we are, but I think that's a bit of why the show really holds up this well. And Jim's performance will stand the test of time as one of the greatest ever."

Adds Sigler, "The Sopranos was off the air 15 years, and we always think there's one last thing we're going to do together and then it'll probably be it, and there's just something always that brings us together. And I think it's a testament to the show and the fans... it all just feels really timely and really special."

The Sopranos Jaime Lynn Sigler, James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Robert Iler
From left: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, James Gandolfini, Edie Falco and Robert Iler on The Sopranos. HBO

Because the fans have been so monumental in the show's success, Sigler is hopeful that they'll love the Super Bowl ad just as much as she enjoyed making it.

"It's really cool because this commercial is shot almost frame for frame. You could put the original and the commercial up next to each other and see the parallels," she explains. "It's such a cute little Easter egg that we can give to fans."

"I hope they enjoy it, especially for the die-hard fans," she adds. "The fact that you hear that Sopranos music, I can imagine everyone's heads turning and being like, 'What is this? What's going on?' Then seeing glimpses of me like, 'Wait, is that Meadow?' I hope it reignites everyone's love for The Sopranos."

Sigler, who starred in the HBO hit for nearly 10 years, recently revealed that she only just began watching The Sopranos for the first time. But, she has a good explanation for that.

"The reason why I waited as long as I did to watch it is so that I wouldn't pick apart my performance or wish I did anything differently," she says. "I also think enough time had passed that I was actually able to enjoy it as a genuine audience member. I really was able to step back and get what everyone else's experience was."

Sigler adds, "Of course, there were moments that I had completely forgotten about. There were moments that got me emotional, making me miss people. But overall it was really just a really unique and special experience. And I'm so glad I waited."

As for whether she'll let her two young sons — Beau Kyle, 8, and Jack Adam, 4 — watch the show one day? "Sure," she says. "But my kids are very little, so that'll be in quite some time, another 20 years. They'll probably be watching it in the air in front of them!"

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