NEW YORK – New Jersey's most infamous mobsters are shooting again.
Cast members put on their gold chains, black leather jackets and shiny sharkskin suits yesterday to begin filming what may be the final season of The Sopranos.
As usual, the thespian Mafiosi kept quiet about family business.
As Tony Sirico, who plays Paulie Walnuts, told The New York Post: "There'll be a lot of blood this year, that's all you can count on.
"It's a gangster show, anyone could get rubbed out," the actor added yesterday between scenes.
Fans are eager to get through a year of reruns until next January, when the fifth 13-episode season starts.
After gasping at last season's cliffhanger ending, they were holding their breath again last month when star James Gandolfini threatened to walk out.
But even with the new season on its way, they wait for word on how long the show will go on.
HBO said it had offered to double Gandolfini's paycheck to $600,000 per episode, but he wanted close to $2 million per show, and filed a lawsuit when negotiations broke down.
Shooting was to start March 24, but HBO pulled the plug until a deal with the actor was struck.
Details of a final agreement have not been released, but cast members said they were happy to be back.
"It's great to be back, but I hope it's not officially over yet. I hope it lives on forever," said Steven Van Zandt, who plays Silvio Dante and juggles his Sopranos role with his longtime guitar gig in Bruce Springsteen's band.
Michael Imperioli, who plays Christopher Moltisanti, was one of 300 people who would have been without an HBO paycheck had Gandolfini's contract dispute dragged on.
"It's like being home again," he said after filming a scene in which he beats the snot out of a guy in a parking lot.