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Brad Pitt on James Gandolfini: 'I Am Gutted by This Loss'

James Gandolfini Brad Pitt 2012 - P 2013
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Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini

The "World War Z" star acted opposite the "Sopranos" icon in last year's box-office clunker "Killing Them Softly" as well as 1993's "True Romance" and 2001's "The Mexican."

Brad Pitt says he's "gutted" over news of James Gandolfini's death.

The World War Z star, who acted opposite Gandolfini in 2012's Killing Them Softly, tells The Hollywood Reporter in a statement: "I admire Jimmy as a ferocious actor, a gentle soul and a genuinely funny man. I am fortunate to have sat across the table from him and am gutted by this loss. I wish his family strength and some semblance of peace."

Killing Them Softly, released by The Weinstein Company last November, fell short at the box office -- earning a rare F CinemaScore from moviegoers -- but boasted an A-list cast roster, teaming up Pitt and Gandolfini with respected actors Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins and Sam Shepard.

STORY: James Gandolfini Was a 'Special Man' and a 'Great Talent'

The violent crime drama featured Pitt as a hitman hired to clean up after several small-time crooks who raid a Mob-protected card game in post-Katrina New Orleans. In an interview with THR, Gandolfini, who portrayed an aging killer-for-hire with a drinking problem, called the picture "a good gangster film; it’s enjoyable and it’s funny. It really is."

He also appeared alongside Pitt in 1993's True Romance and 2001's The Mexican.

Gandolfini died Wednesday of a heart attack in Rome at age 51. As the news circulated, former colleagues of the Sopranos icon released statements of mourning.

“He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that," said Sopranos showrunner David Chase. "He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, 'You don't get it. You're like Mozart.'"

Twitter: @ErinLCarlson

Email: erin.carlson@thr.com