James Gandolfini's Death: 'Eating With the Enemy' Writer Can't Imagine Anyone Replacing Him

James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini
 Getty Images

Among those mourning the sudden death of James Gandolfini was screenwriter Pat Healy, who was working with Gandolfini on the upcoming HBO movie Eating With the Enemy.

Healy had just seen The Sopranos star last Friday.

"I just talked to him on Friday, and we were just laughing together, and he gave me a big hug. I told him to have a good trip, and I expected to talk to him when he got back," Healy told The Hollywood Reporter.

When Healy learned that Gandolfini had died, he didn't believe it, he said. When told the news was true, the screenwriter pulled over the car he was driving and wept.

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Although Healy said he was initially intimidated by the acting legend, later meetings they had were loose and full of laughter.

"We spent time telling each other our stories, and we were very open with each other," Healy said. "I was surprised and happy that he felt comfortable to be that way with me."

Eating With the Enemy is one of the many projects left up in the air by Gandolfini's unexpected death.

The HBO movie, which Healy is still writing, was set to star Gandolfini as Bobby Egan, a NJ barbecue chef who became a conduit between the U.S. and North Korea for roughly 15 years, starting in the early '90s.

Gandolfini's Attaboy Films and Tribeca Productions were producing the project.

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Healy says Gandolfini's death has inspired him to move forward with the film.

"I think I’m even more motivated now to [finish the script] for Jim because I know that we all feel like he would have wanted us to," he said.

While there haven't yet been discussions about who will take over Gandolfini's role, Healy said he can't envision anyone replacing him.

"I personally can’t imagine anyone playing the role anymore now that I’ve seen him reading it."

Healy also shared with THR some details about his role in the upcoming film, Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns who's trying to secure the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

Healy said he plays the Jacksonville Jaguars GM, who's one of the people Costner is negotiating with.

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