For obvious reasons, James Gandolfini's legacy will be forever tied to Tony Soprano. It's the role he played the longest and which left the deepest impact, both on viewers and within the industry at large. But the late actor, who died (too soon) of an apparent heart attack on Wednesday, had a gallery of memorable movie characters as well, particularly after The Sopranos transformed him from a struggling supporting player (he had small, but memorable turns in films like True Romance and Crimson Tide in the run-up to the 1999 debut of The Sopranos) into a sought-after character actor who appeared in a rich variety of films, from the sublime (Spike Jonze's lovely adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are) to the absurd (John Turturro's intriguing, but problematic musical Romance & Cigarettes). And even when the films themselves stank (Surviving Christmas anyone?) Gandolfini's mere presence made them less painful than they otherwise might have been. Here are five Gandolfini movie characters we'd place alongside his towering turn as a New Jersey don.
The premise for Welcome to the Rileys has been described by some critics as the thinking moviegoer's The Blind Side, and I suppose that's fair. After losing their daughter in a car accident, a married couple (played magnificently by James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo) have grown apart, and have managed to avoid facing and dealing with their crushing grief. Like, completely. They don't speak to each other, he's cheating with a Waffle House waitress, and she's deathly afraid to leave the house, among other issues. But when Gandolfini comes across a teen hooker (played by Kristen Stewart) with more sores than positive role models in her life while on a business trip to New Orleans, he decides she represents a second chance at saving his daughter, gets Melissa Leo on board, and after a bumpy road, emotional healing is had by all.
Fans of the BBC series The Thick of It, a show that parodies the inner workings of U.S. and British government agencies, may be glad to hear that it's getting a re-working on the big screen. The Hollywood Reporter announced today that BBC Films is producing an unofficial adaptation titled In the Loop.
James Gandolfini has been cast as a US general in the film and will star along side Peter Capaldi, Chris Addison and other stars from the series who will reprise their rolls for the big screen adaptation.
Between all the gorgeous early viral marketing for this movie and the day I actually went to see it, I had gone from over the top psyched about it to actually pretty worried, based on how mixed the reviews have been. But after seeing it, I'm a little baffled by that. It's got a bleeding heart and, OK, maybe not the most sophisticated plot in the world, but it's pretty hard not to like this film as a whole. And it's not like I just go around liking everything, to say the least.