Sopranos star Robert Iler may find his alter ego making a pivotal career move this season. Iler, who plays the son of gangster Tony Soprano on the hit HBO series, says he thinks his A.J. character may soon be getting into the family business.

"I don't think he would just let [that tradition] die," the young actor tells TV Guide Online, adding, "I think I'd rather play the bad guy because it's just more fun."

Whether or not the native New Yorker is on his way to becoming a junior mobster, Iler, who next can be seen playing a big-screen bully in The Tic Code, already is proving quite a hit. As the up-and-comer explains, he can't go anywhere without being recognized as "the Sopranos kid." "It's weird because everybody notices you," he marvels. "When I'm with my dad, people will come up to him and say, 'Hey, that kid you're walking with looks a lot like the kid on The Sopranos,' and he'll be like, 'Yeah, he gets that a lot.' "

Still, Iler's buddies aren't making a big deal about his newfound fame. "Most of the friends I have now are like the same friends I have had my whole life," he explains. "So it's like nothing has changed."

And until The Sopranos resumes production ? the new season kicks off in March ? Iler will begin work on the film L.I.E. and just hang out with his friends, one of whom happens to be an Emmy nominee. "James [Gandolfini, who plays his pop] took me to a play and to dinner," he notes, "and Jaime [Lynn Sigler, who plays his sister], we always hang out." Speaking of Sigler, what's up with those rumors about her health? "She's got Lyme disease," Iler reveals. "She's recovering now. I just spoke to her and she's doing a lot better."