HBO's Michael Lombardo: James Gandolfini Was 'Ready to Jump' Back Into TV
This story first appeared in the July 19 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
I've worked with him for a long time. He'd been working on a project [Big Dead Place, about the U.S. Antarctic program] for the last few years and he was finally ready to jump in with both feet and commit to a series and character that he hadn't committed to since Tony Soprano. The character was crafted with him, for him. And he was so excited about it. The tragedy here is that here's a man who was finally ready to reclaim his place as an artist fully and completely. Jim just absolutely had no tolerance for dishonesty. And this character is a man who sometimes is politically incorrect, sometimes stepped on people's toes, but always struggles to tell the truth, his truth. And Jim connected with that. He also really embraced his blue-collar roots. And this character is a working-class guy. Jim had a very strong connection with his audience. That's what they embraced in Tony Soprano. Of course it was a mob show. But it was a guy who came from the same place they came from.
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