Actor James Gandolfini passed away tragically last week in Italy, but even though the man is gone, his last film will bring him back to life – in the streets of Southern Brooklyn. The New York Daily News is reporting that Gandolfini’s last film, Animal Control, was shot in Sheepshead Bay, Marine park and Flatlands and that Gandolfini connected with many of the local residents while shooting there.
According to IMDB, Animal Rescue, which stars British actor Tom Hardy, is a crime-drama about a lost dog, a scam-artist and a killing. Gandolfini’s scenes were wrapped up about a month ago, making it his final performance. Gandolfini’s friend, Mike Sullivan, who spent a lot of time with the star on his last shoot, describes Gandolofini’s role in the film to the Daily News.
“He plays this bookie who owes money to some Chechen mobsters who wind up taking over his bar and his book,” Sullivan told the Daily News. “He called me the day he flew in to meet the director who was scouting bars in the neighborhood. Jimmy said he really wanted to work with this guy Tom Hardy, an English actor.”
Sullivan and Gandolfini visited many locations in Southern Brooklyn, including Joe LaRussa’s store, called Barber Shop (East 28th Street and Avenue U). LaRussa was heartbroken at the news of Gandolfini’s death, remembering him as a “regular guy.”
“Mike, I’m so sorry about your friend,” he says in an Italian accent. “I tell people James Gandolfini parked his big trailer right in front of my store when he was shooting around the corner at the pizzeria. He posed for a picture. The damned picture didn’t come out. I was so upset. But not as upset as when I hear on the radio that James Gandolfini died in Roma. Oh my God, such a nice guy. A regular guy. Everybody who comes in my store was so, so upset. I have to see the movie he shot here when it comes out.”
For a figure as inspiring, talented and down to earth like Gandolfini to die suddenly, a profoundly sad void is left in anyone that appreciated his work.