Sadly the world lost James Gandolfini last June, leaving us just a couple of final opportunities to see him at work. There was Enough Said, the comedy drama with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, which he shot in the autumn of 2012 and was released last October. His last role was in The Drop, completed just a couple of months before he died. Based on Dennis Lehane’s short story Animal Rescue (and originally titled that), the film co-stars Tom Hardy and is directed by Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead). It’s out in the UK at the end of this year, and the first stills have just surfaced at USA Today.
Lehane (original author of Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River and Shutter Island) served as his own adaptor for The Drop, which marks his first screenwriting credit. The story involves Bob, a lonely Boston barman (Hardy) and ex-criminal trying to go straight, who rescues an abandoned pit bull puppy from a rubbish bin but soon finds himself caught up with the dog’s alarming former owner, the Boston mob, a heist-gone-wrong and at least one murder.
Gandolfini plays Bob’s cousin Marv, and Lehane lobbied hard to get him cast. “There are certain guys out there that are exceptionally rare who can completely feel this type of guy in their bones," the author explains. “Gandolfini could "speak with a sort of music of the urban experience and do it effortlessly."
“I think we were ready for a new Gandolfini chapter," says Roskam. "He was a little older. And he had the grey hair and the beard. A new Gandolfini was emerging. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to see more of it. But I am happy that we had this beautiful glimpse."
The Drop is released here on November 14, and Lehane’s short story can be found in the collection Boston Noir, published by Akashic Books.