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Behind the scenes of Gandolfini's swan song

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Director Michael R Roskam on working with James Gandolfini on his last film, The Drop.

The Drop is a crime story, written by the totally talented Dennis Lehane, about a man, Bob Saginowski (Tom Hardy) who works in a bar owned by his Cousin Marv (James Gandolfini). But the bar is actually controlled by the Mafia and one day lot of things go wrong. So Bob has to take control, but with that comes a lot of consequences.

“James Gandolfini was just brilliant. One of the hard parts of being an actor is being vulnerable and he was very able to do that. The way he handled it for himself, it was an honour to see the great Gandolfini at work. He was a great man – so experienced, but at the same time incredibly humble, almost as if it was his first role again.

“I remember one of the first scenes that Tom and Jim had to play together. It was a very intense key scene in the film – they only met shortly before. They just nailed it; the chemistry was pretty clear from that first moment. Although they are both men, sometimes when real men have a kind of stand-off, there’s this kind of brotherly understanding of each other without words. They play cousins, and how those guys talked to each other, it’s like they’ve known each other for more than 35 years.

“Normally getting someone of Matthias Schoenaerts’ calibre to play a smaller part is difficult, because he is a leading guy. But he and I have been very good friends since Bullhead and when I make a movie, I want to have him in it. And we can’t forget Noomi [Rapace], the only girl in a troop of alpha males. Of course, the dog was the big guy on set. When he entered, he drew all attention to him.”

The Drop is at cinemas from 14 November

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