Some actors spend their careers portraying generous, benevolent, kind hearted members of the community with great conviction. When in actuality they are bitter, hard nosed, self interested narcissists. Their ability to hide behind their characters is a mark of a their talent.
James Gandolfini spent the majority of his career portraying bitter, hard nosed, self interested narcissists. When in actuality, by all accounts, he was as kind, generous and soft a soul as you could hope to meet. He wasn’t a good actor. He was a great actor. A talent cruelly taken through a massive heart attack whilst on holiday with his family in Rome. At 51, TV, film and stage has lost a 1% talent far too early.
Prior to 1999 he was a character actor who had a steady line of supporting movie roles on his CV including True Romance, 12 Angry Men, Midnight In The Garden Of Good & Evil and Get Shorty. It was his explosion onto our TV’s as neurotic mobster Tony Soprano in the hit HBO series that showcased his incredible talent and marked a turning point in TV as we know it. The Sopranos was HBO showing the World that TV could be cinematic. Without it we’d have no Wire. No Boardwalk Empire. No Breaking Bad. As Bryan Cranston tweeted today “I’m saddened by James Gandolfini’s passing. He was a great talent & I owe him. Quite simply, without Tony Soprano there is no Walter White.”
The Sopranos had a big effect on my TV tastes growing up and as such I want to mark Gandolfini’s passing by taking a look at some of best work over the next week. Starting with In The Loop on Saturday.
RIP James Gandolfini.