Ten things you need to know about James Gandolfini

We bring you the facts about the star of ENOUGH SAID

ENOUGH SAID is released in cinemas this week, and features the late great James Gandolfini in his penultimate completed movie role. To celebrate the film, and the life of an actor we lost too soon, Movies.ie has gathered together ten things you need to know about the man who brought Tony Soprano to life…

Although he is best known as a larger man, Gandolfini lost more than 40 pounds for his role in THE MEXICAN.
… He had to gain it all back before shooting THE SOPRANOS because executives didn’t believe the audience would like a ‘skinny’ Tony.

James said he was nothing like Tony Soprano in real life, describing his own personality as being more like a ‘260-pound Woody Allen’.
… His roles in ENOUGH SAID and WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE are sweet and warm roles, and give us a sense, not only of his range as an actor, but of the man behind the mobster.

Gandolfini’s mother was raised in Naples and his father was born in Italy; they were devout Roman Catholics and spoke Italian at home.
… This influence gave Gandolfini a strong Italian identity and he visited the country regularly.

James’s Broadway debut was in the 1992 revival of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin.
… What an incredible cast!

James’ breakthrough role was his portrayal of Virgil the hit man in Tony Scott’s TRUE ROMANCE.
… He took over the role from Tom Sizemore, who switched roles to play Cody Nicholson.

Gandolfini starred in four films by TRUE ROMANCE director Tony Scott; CRIMSON TIDE, THE LAST BOY SCOUT, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 and, obviously, TRUE ROMANCE.
… Scott described the actor as ‘a unique combination of charming and dangerous’.

Gandolfini’s incredible performance as Tony Soprano is widely agreed to have had a huge influence on TV, the characters portrayed the stories told.
… James’ work is credited with making way for characters like Walter White (BREAKING BAD), Dexter (DEXTER), Nucky Thompson (BOARDWALK EMPIRE) and Don DRAPER (MAD MEN) to exist.

While filming IN THE LOOP, Gandolfini became so angry that he scared Peter Capaldi enough to make him drop character.
… The two were improvising a scene, and Capaldi later said he really thought Gandolfini would ‘physically pummel me’. Scary!

James also had a talent for comedy; he appeared in SURVIVING CHRISTMAS with Ben Affleck, and shows off his comedic timing in ENOUGH SAID.
… It’s just a shame that his talent for drama overshadowed his range.

New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie ordered all New Jersey State buildings to fly flags at half mast on June 24, 2013 to honour Gandolfini when his remains were returned to the United States.
… A fitting tribute to one of New Jersey’s greatest sons.

James Gandolfini will be missed by his family, friends, and fans of great acting everywhere. RIP.

ENOUGH SAID is released in Irish cinemas on October 18th

Words: Brogen Hayes