The death of Emmy-winning actor James Gandolfini certainly came as a shock yesterday afternoon. Gandolfini died from a heart attack while on vacation with his son in Italy. He was 51.
The last we saw of the talented, barrel-chested actor was in a couple of supporting roles in feature films – The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and 2012 award contender Zero Dark Thirty.
Thanks to the forward-thinking nature of production in Hollywood, we still have three productions featuring Gandolfini. Two are feature film roles while the other is a TV gig for a new HBO miniseries. Here's what they are and when they're hitting the big (or small) screen:
Untitled Nicole Holofcener Project
Fox Searchlight green-lit the latest comedy from Please Give and Friends with Money director Nicole Holofcener last summer. The project is currently in postproduction awaiting, among other things, a title and a release date. The film has been targeted for a 2013 release and given the award-winning cast that has assembled for this project, a fall/winter release is probable.
Gandolfini plays Eva's (Julia Louis Dreyfus) sweet, funny and affable love interest Albert. Things become complicated when Eva learns that Albert is the ex-husband of Marianne (Catherine Keener), someone Eva considers to be the embodiment of her perfect self.
Upon hearing about Gandolfini's death, Holofcener said, "I'm so heartbroken and shocked. I'm honored to have known him and worked with him. He was wonderful."
Gandolfini stars among an eclectic cast in the first of seven episodes in HBO's new crime drama Criminal Justice. The show, directed by Academy Award-winner Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List, screenwriter) is loosely based on a BBC series of the same name. Gandolfini stars as a low-level New York lawyer who defends a Pakistani man who wakes up one morning and finds a female stranger stabbed to death in his bed.
HBO has not said whether it will continue the series after the first episode with executives still coming to terms with the actor's sudden death yesterday. Gandolfini, who has an executive producer role on the project, was only in one scene in the pilot episode and Deadline suggests his character could be recast.
For his final film, Gandolfini stars opposite Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace in the crime drama Animal Rescue. Filming recently wrapped on the feature and is slated for a 2014 release. Helmed by Bullhead director Michael R. Roskam, Gandolfini plays a bar owner that Hardy's character works at. A romance sparks between Hardy and Rapace while a lost pit bull, a scam artist and a killing factor into the story.
Roskam offered a statement to The Wrap yesterday saying, "It was such an honor to work with Mr. Gandolfini and nothing but a pleasure to see him perform. He was one of the greatest. I'm so sad and thinking about his family. I wanted to make him proud with the movie we made together and now it will be in his loving memory."
Gandolfini was attached to several movie projects in development including an HBO Films drama titled Eating with the Enemy, a project that would have paired him with Robert De Niro. He also had a comedy series in development for CBS called Taxi 22.
Throughout the day, friends offered their condolences and shared memories of their dear friend.
"I now miss him like a brother," Jeff Daniels said. "If Broadway has a version of a guy you want in your foxhole, Jim Gandolfini was mine."
Pat Healy, writer of such films as Rescue Dawn, Magnolia and Ghost World said, "Jim Gandolfini was my friend. I saw him on Friday. When I went to shake hi hand and wish him a good trip, he gave me a big hug. I'll miss him."
Sopranos creator David Chase also offered his thoughts in a statement. "He was genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes… He wasn't easy sometimes. But he was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can't explain and never will be able to explain."
You can read more celebrity reaction courtesy of USAToday.