James Gandolfini: Tribute to a Friend (2013) Movie Script

He was a searcher, really.
He was looking for something
he didn't have.
I don't think he knew
how valuable he was
to other people,
how much what he did
for them mattered.
He was a good man.
He just happened to be
a brilliant, brilliant actor.
He just made you feel like
things were gonna be okay.
If he was around, he just did.
Jimmy had that combination
of being very down to earth
and also larger than life.
- You did a scene with
- Jimmy Gandolfini
and you walked away
a better actor.
He was a reluctant...
a reluctant star.
He was so grateful
for his good luck,
for his chance to do
something for people.
You can't go out and say
we lost Tony Soprano.
We didn't lose Tony Soprano.
We lost James Gandolfini.
Whatever the opposite
of bullshit is,
that's what I think
Jimmy Gandolfini was searching for.
All right, well, we have
our breaking news now.
We can confirm the death
of James Gandolfini,
the actor best known,
of course, for his role
in "The Sopranos"
as Tony Soprano.
HBO is confirming that he died
while on vacation
in Rome, Italy...
I was taking a nap and a friend came up
to my room and said,
"You gotta wake up,
gotta wake up.
Jim Gandolfini died. "
And I wasn't entirely sure
I was awake,
I didn't know
what had happened.
I couldn't make sense of it.
I couldn't believe it.
I refused to believe it.
"Who told you this?"
It just... it didn't
make sense to me.
Um, I...
somehow was under
the mistaken impression
that this guy
was indestructible.
Then I just sat on that chair
for days, you know.
Yeah, that was bad.
A lot of phone calls
trying to...
hopefully find out
if it was a rumor,
you know.
But it wasn't.
Well, you know
your time has come
And you're sorry
for what you've done
You should have never been
playing with a gun
In those
complicated shadows...
The first time
I actually met him, I...
you know, he came in to read.
He was one of the actors
who came in to read.
And, you know, we basically
just shook hands.
He sat down and he...
he read.
And then he bolted
in the middle of it.
He left.
He said, "Uh-uh,
this isn't doing...
I'm not doing this right.
This is not good. "
After he finally read
the whole thing all the way through,
it was pretty clear
that he was the guy.
Mr. Soprano?
Ahem. Yeah.
It had been cast already
and they said,
"It was this guy,
Jim Gandolfini. "
- That's perfect.
- You getting that?
I guess I first met him
at the first read-through.
We became a family
from that day,
from the first
And then we went from there.
We shot the pilot
in August of 1997.
It was great and everybody
had a nice time
and felt that they were
working on something really good.
But in this business
a lot of times
when you feel like you're working
on something really good,
that's usually... it means
that, like, nobody's ever going to see it.
I did not think it would be a big thing.
Not in the least.
Oddly, I had much
more confidence than David
or anybody else did,
including Jim.
I think they were fairly pessimistic
about the show.
I did the screening
and my friends came
and, you know, I've done this
before with people.
And I could see that people
really were responding to it.
They were laughing a lot,
more than I thought they would.
I began to think then
we had something,
but I never thought
it would succeed with...
you know, in the way
that it did.
I never had that dream,
that notion,
that inkling, anything.
You gave a fucking cousin Cartier dinner
rings and you give me a vibrating chair?
He was exciting to work with.
He had a great effect.
There was an energy or something that came
from him.
Oh, Ma, you gotta stop!
You gotta stop with this...
this black poison cloud all the time,
'cause I can't take it anymore.
Oh, poor you!
We really laughed our fool heads off
on that set.
He and Nancy Marchand...
this is going back to the beginning...
would make each other laugh.
She was a ferociously
funny woman.
Not even gonna...
gonna what?
What the fuck are you doing?
- Not even gonna... gonna...
Kiss me.
Hit me.
No, kiss me.
- I know. I am.
- Kiss me.
All my greatest
memories involve
all of us being
out of control laughing.
And Jim was always
at the heart of it.
- Do I say something?
- "What?"
That's a tough one.
Working on that show
was like walking down the street
and hanging out on the corner
with your friends.
It was like that every day.
There was a scene
that was in the third season
when he calls me
to go and help him
and I come in
with a hunting outfit.
The Pine Barrens episode.
- Did you call Bobby?
- He's on his way.
And he said,
"You better know how to make me laugh
tomorrow morning,"
because he had to...
I had to walk in
with this hunting outfit,
which he had already seen,
and I had to be funny.
So I told the prop guy,
I said, "Listen,
do you have any dildos?"
You know.
And he found me the biggest dildo...
looked like an Italian bread.
And when I come into that room,
which is the scene you see,
I'm off camera and you see Jim
basically fall over
laughing on the counter.
And you could almost catch
Dominic Chianese crack a smile.
That was a funny scene.
We had a lot of laughs
that day.
They all bust my balls.
They bust my balls.
I remember telling
a bunch of reporters one time
"This guy holds up the show.
If this show is grand,
it's because of James Gandolfini. "
And everybody in the cast
understood what I meant.
Doing a show like that...
do you know how much work it is?
For him, for a lead
on any of these shows
these people worked,
they're in it all the time.
And I never saw anyone work
so hard at each scene,
analyzing it, working on it.
I find it to be tremendous,
the trouble he's gotten himself into.
I'm not trying to be difficult.
Out of the hard work
came something transcendent.
It doesn't look like hard work.
It looks like magic.
Where is she?
Where the fuck is she?
Where is she?!
In those moments when you're going,
you're going all the way.
Going all the way.
We're gonna empty ourselves.
No, please,
don't make me do it.
I can't do it.
I can't do it.
All right.
- I can't!
- All right, all right.
- I can't do it.
- I'm gonna take care of it.
He did that all the time.
- He made you do it.
- All right.
Made you wanna do it.
Like a sculptor
works in marble,
his raw material was emotion.
And he was just really good
with working with it.
He did things with a blink.
He could play a scene
with his eyes
and you knew exactly what the hell
his character was going through.
When you got eyes like that,
you know something's special
burning inside.
The defining emotion,
I guess, about him
or about his eyes
was kind of sadness.
That's why when he laughed
or smiled, it was so powerful.
I don't think anybody else
could have played Tony Soprano
and made him that character.
I mean, it's... so much
of who Jim was, was Tony.
Tony Soprano had
all the best qualities
of Jimmy.
And it's why
we loved him so much.
- By the time I was there,
- I think there was a frustration
about what kind of person
Jim was and what kind of person Tony was.
That's a lot of pressure.
Everything you do on-screen
sticks to you,
and even though he was beloved,
he was cruel and brutal and...
I'm talking about Tony...
and Jim was not like that.
I think it was
hard for Jim sometimes
to go to dark places.
- I loved you.
- What happens I decide, not you.
Now... fuck!
This fucking turning thing
doesn't work.
It's okay.
It's okay, cut it.
This was really,
really deeply emotional
and sometimes deeply disturbing
and you really had to get
in touch with the part of yourself
that if you did not feel the words you
were saying, it just wasn't gonna work.
What happens I decide, not you.
Now, you don't love me anymore,
well, that breaks my heart,
but it's too fucking bad
'cause you're not gonna love me.
But you will respect me.
Tony Soprano had
a very, very, very dark side.
And somehow or other,
good boy Jimmy Gandolfini
was able to fill those shoes.
I had so much respect
for the way he worked.
Are you sure my hand
was down here?
It wasn't up here?
The freedom that he had
as an actor
was a constant source
of inspiration for me
and something I still aim for.
Here, okay.
Sorry, let's do it
one more time.
And wherever my hand falls,
that's life.
Jimmy and Edie
made everybody better.
Both of them
were extraordinary.
And totally two different
styles of working.
Jimmy would argue
about everything.
"This doesn't work.
Why is he saying that? I don't wanna... "
Edie came in,
had it all memorized.
Never any discussion.
Just did it.
And yet look at how
well-matched they seem.
Sometimes you get to work
two hours early
or, you know, you have to
sit around for two hours
and what... I'm not gonna sit
in my camper by myself.
I'm gonna go watch
Jim and Edie film a scene
and I felt like I was
in the greatest acting class
of all time.
They came to work
and they did their job,
and they had this thing
called chemistry.
The last year,
I have been dreaming
and fantasizing
and in love with Furio.
Every morning when he'd come
to pick you up,
I would look forward to it
all night long in bed,
next to you.
It's a very strange alchemy
that goes on
when you work with somebody
that closely for that long.
There was one scene
that took place
on chairs by a pool,
I guess in our backyard,
and it wasn't about anything.
The scene was a nothing scene.
And David didn't want us
to look at each other.
So we were just looking straight ahead
and talking about nothing.
I remember ending
that day of shooting
and thinking, "It will never be
this good again. "
You know, with an actor,
with this writing,
with the storyline,
with a marriage, you know,
with a relationship.
It's funny, I hadn't thought
about it till this second.
Oh, papi.
Oh, papi.
He wanted to make sure that
the love got spread around.
I guess that's what
I would say.
Jimmy was kind of
a leader in a way.
I think we all took
our cues from him.
This is a family,
this is a team.
This is not about
who's the star and whatever.
There was no egos going around.
We were so lucky to go to work,
and he made it feel that way
from the top.
Jim set the tone
for the entire spirit
of the cast and crew.
From the first moment,
he gave me the utmost respect.
Not being an actor
at the time, you know,
I'm concerned
what are these actors
gonna think of me at all
coming onto the show.
I'm a fucking rock 'n roll
guitar player.
You know what I mean? What am I doing
here in the first place, right?
When Jimmy gave me
that complete respect,
everybody on the set did.
Your fucking wig is huge today.
Fucking thick!
That's the good one.
Mr. Gandolfini had a very warped
sense of humor.
One day I came to the set,
to come to work and I was passing
his trailer...
and he always called me Bracco.
"Hey, Bracco,
I left you a present
in your trailer. "
And I was like,
"Oh. Thank you.
How nice.
How lovely of you.
Thanks, Jimmy. "
And I got to my trailer
and there was this big box,
and I said,
"Well, it's not jewelry
and it's not flowers.
What the hell
could it be?"
Excuse me a second.
he gave me this lovely cock.
I have had the pleasure
of Mr. Cock-a-doodle-do
for many, many years.
And it is probably the most horrible,
ugliest thing
I've ever received
in my whole life.
And the Emmy goes to...
James Gandolfini
from "The Sopranos. "
To the crew of "The Sopranos"
and the cast and the writers,
but the crew who work so hard
and put up with so much.
Um, to my son,
Michael, I promised
I would do this...
We were always laughing.
We took a trip to San Francisco
and we stopped at a red light.
And this is so my dad...
he gets out of the car
and starts dancing
right on the street.
I was laughing so hard.
And he ran back in the car
and we went during the green light.
Jim, can I get a shot, please?
- Let me blow my nose first.
All right.
Jim was really great at laughing
at the absurdity of life,
especially when the show
really became so popular
and he became so popular.
And he had a way of just kind of diffusing
the importance of that
and just looking
at the absurdity of it.
- Hey, how are you? - Can we do a short interview
with you with Cynthia for HBO?
I know.
You know what?
I feel like Jesus just sat down
on the mountain with me.
- Thank you.
- Oh, really?
- 'Cause I know...
- I'll disappoint you quickly, don't worry.
There was something about Jimmy
that was extremely humble.
I think the fame or publicity
was not that important.
We'd be in the bathroom
and he'd be, like, at the urinal
and people were coming up
to him at the urinal,
wanting to shake
his hand, honestly.
One time, Jim was
really freaked out.
We were in West Virginia
and some guy took off his shirt
and he had a tattoo
of Jim's face on his back.
He had a tattoo of Jim
and a tattoo of "Scarface,"
Al Pacino.
"And that really... " he went,
"that really freaks me out, man.
The guy's got my face
on his back. "
I think he may have
secretly enjoyed
getting good reservations
at restaurants or something
or being able to help people.
'Cause I know
he did that a lot.
You know, if somebody was sick,
he was able to get them
the best doctors.
He'd just do things,
and that's the way it was.
If he thought
that he could be helpful,
then he just did it.
That meant he was accepting
his success.
You know.
And that's really the best part
of accepting one's success,
because now you get
a chance to use it.
And it does have its uses.
- Welcome to Afghanistan.
- It's beautiful, huh?
Oh, yeah.
Sorry we didn't
have much time there.
- Welcome aboard.
- Thank you, sir.
A little busy getting
to this point of the day,
but it should be
all breezy from here.
Thank you.
We both came from
the same generation
in which the men in our families fought
in World War II
when we were always
very proud of that service.
And Jim wanted to do
whatever he could.
What happened?
The cable machine,
I was doing, like, crunches
with the weight and it broke.
In the gym he got injured.
- So I got smacked in the back of my head.
- I figured.
You look kind of silly.
You know that?
Yeah, I know, sir.
- "The Sopranos" are awesome.
- Thank you.
How are you doing, man?
How are you?
He could go over there
and just talk to the soldiers
and in talking to them,
in talking to them like a friend,
they felt important,
they felt wanted,
they felt respected.
You can't get away from the paparazzi
anywhere can you?
You paparazzi the kind I like.
One day I get a call, he says,
"What do you think
about Iraq?"
Three weeks later, we were
saying hello to the troops.
Tony Sirico and... and...
- What's your name?
- Jim Gandolfini.
Jim Gandolfini.
We came all the way here
to tell you that we love you.
We were the type of guys
that wanted to go up front
and see what the guys
were doing.
We went up to Mosul
and we've seen it all.
This is the scene that...
we were on top
of a police department roof
that had just been
taken over by our guys
and the mortars started
to hit down the block.
Boom! Boom!
And I looked at Jimmy,
he looked at me,
and we looked
at these young kids...
these were young soldiers
on the roof...
and all they did
was look over the roof.
And you knew right away
they've been shot at before.
They were real deal guys.
I was very proud of these guys.
- You got hit?
- No. Not sure what happened yet.
got into the dust
and ended up on the side.
Well, you got everybody out.
It's probably...
it could've been much worse, right?
That's all that matters.
They all walked away from it.
- That's all that matters to me.
- It's a pleasure.
You guys coming around
just visiting the troops?
- Yeah.
- Well, thank you so much.
- It means a lot to us.
- Thank you.
Many people think of Jim
only as a film actor,
but Jim has an extraordinary career
making documentaries
and that's how I met Jim.
That was...
that was good.
When you did...
step in.
- Step in, my friend.
- Yes, sir.
Jim wanted to do something
to help the country understand
the sacrifices
of the soldiers and to honor them.
Jim, this is Jake.
- Hey, good to meet you.
- How are you?
Is this what the Army
calls combat stress?
PTSD is what they call it.
In the world I come from in the Army,
in the infantry lane,
you know, they don't believe
in PTSD,
they believe that there is
just weak-minded people.
He really made me feel special
in the fact that
he gave me the opportunity
to share my story.
When he sat down
with the soldiers,
they felt that they knew Jim.
They had watched him on TV.
He had been in their house.
And they told him things
from deep down in their souls
that they wouldn't have told
anybody else on earth.
You know, do I wonder if my kid...
if I ever have a kid,
do I wonder if they'll love me,
like, for who I am.
I hope so.
What were you
just thinking about?
The reality of, you know,
will I be able to raise a kid.
I won't be able to pick up
my son or daughter with two arms.
I won't.
He's an intense listener,
and so it was very easy for me
to feel comfortable
and to open up.
It wasn't about him,
it was about telling our stories
and it was about
the American public,
you know, getting
to know us as people
and seeing our challenges.
I'm shredded, I'm torn up.
I'll be single
the rest of my life.
Who the hell could
love me like this?
I mean, who could love me
like this?
He actually stopped the interview
a couple of times
because he started crying.
I was like, "Is this genuine?
I mean,
is he for real?"
'Cause at the end of the day,
he's James Gandolfini.
I mean, the dude could act.
Little did I know
it was all pure
and just love.
Oh, man.
I'm gonna get a hug?
Look at this.
Thank you.
No problem.
Thank you for the interview.
- You did a great job.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
Oh, God bless you
for what you're doing, Jim.
When we got done with it all,
he asked, "Is there anything
I can do for you right now?
Like right this second. "
If you could say hi
to my fiance
- if I call her real quick.
- Absolutely.
He took the phone
and he was smiling,
you know, that frickin'
Gandolfini smile, man.
The first thing
Jimmy said to her,
"Hey, I gotta ask you
a favor...
be patient with him. "
And that to me was big.
'Cause he knew...
I mean, he knew
that this was gonna
be a long fight.
I still had
a lot of fighting to do.
And just for him to...
I mean, the dude
had just met me.
But I could tell it was...
already really genuine.
Mr. Gandolfini.
- Look right here.
- I should have a signal.
We all take something away
from our time with Jim.
You don't say that
about everybody you meet.
One of the things that Jim did
was he signed
everybody's poster.
And I remember
when he was signing mine,
he said, "I'm gonna write
something on here,
and you read it
when you need it. "
And they boxed the posters up,
they shipped them to all of us
and I haven't taken mine
out of the box yet
and I'm waiting
because I know one day I'll need it,
and Jim will still
be there for me.
Tonight we're presenting
a new award
from the Wounded Warrior
the James Gandolfini Award.
By the way,
Michael Gandolfini...
I should say this is also
tonight's winner
of the Jim Gandolfini
look-alike contest.
Congratulations on that,
but keep the hair.
Keep the hair.
The James Gandolfini
Award honors
an individual who exemplifies
the values of the Wounded
Warrior Project as Jimmy did.
Please welcome Tony Sirico.
We play tough guys
in the movies,
but these are real tough guys.
These are the guys
that keep us safe.
Pat Loud?
The Pat Loud?
I'm Craig Gilbert
from New York.
I'm a big fan.
He was a masterful actor
who had a tremendous
amount of...
vulnerability available
at any moment.
The only thing
that surprised me
was his sex appeal.
In person he's...
You know.
We meet a lot of people
that have pretenses
and aspirations to be
something they're not.
And Jim always was who he was
and always was genuine
in his own skin.
Jim felt like
a real breath of fresh air,
someone that really understood
what the process was.
He took so much time studying
Craig Gilbert's diction
and how he would
deliver a sentence.
- Hey, hey.
- This is what we've been waiting for.
The best stuff
is happening right now.
He was so committed
to representing this guy.
We did not know
anything about it
except that he was still alive.
And Jim said to me,
"I got some friends
that are gonna help me find him. "
He knocked on his door.
Can you imagine?
I'm sorry, but can you imagine
having Jim Gandolfini
knock on your door,
"Hey, I'm playing you
in a movie.
Can we spend
some time together?"
I mean, that would be
very surreal.
There's real suffering
happening here, Craig.
You should've seen
my kids last night.
You're right, I should have
seen your kids.
And the whole world
should have seen your kids.
And frankly without that
and without this,
I don't even know
if this thing is worth putting on the air.
He's one of the most
memorable people
I've met and worked with.
His real gift, to me,
selfishly, was his heart
in terms of how much it felt
and how sensitive
he really was.
Nice, thank you.
Do you like fake boobs?
No, no, I like real boobs.
Yeah, I got real boobs.
That's working out
for us, then.
What I loved about
working with him
on those scenes was that
he was very dedicated
to the authenticity of it.
It's like tuning an instrument
and that's how, I think, we both approached
these scenes together.
If it sounded just right,
if he wanted to try
something different.
It was these slight adjustments
that really were profound.
I can give you a massage
sometime if you want.
I think I might like that.
But I would
definitely hit on you.
That might be okay.
We had a shared understanding
of what these moments were,
these sort of little
real moments.
And it was a delightful
We worked really hard
on the last scene in the film.
When we got it,
we both knew we got it.
And we walked off of the set
and we both fell
into each others' arms
and hugged
and we both were weepy.
And, in fact,
it's that very take.
People like James Gandolfini
don't come along
frequently in life,
and the fact that
our lives intersected
in this project,
which is very...
you know, it was
a real labor of love, the project.
And to have done that with him
was just a complete gift.
And I'm really happy about it.
Both fathers and sons
should have this conversation.
You're almost 21!
The haircut is too much
to ask, I'm sure,
but you show up at that restaurant
without a tie and a jacket,
you and me are going
to tango, my friend.
Working with him
on "Not Fade Away" was great.
A lot of the stuff that had
washed up on the beach of "The Sopranos,"
all that fame
and all that attention,
that was all gone,
and we... it was just like
we were starting over again.
Just two guys starting
another project.
What I really liked about it
is that between takes,
he and I were talking.
He and I were friends
between takes.
That's what really
made it so special.
What he did for actors
like me...
he blew open the door
for smart writing.
This whole likeability factor
and where's the speech
where I redeem myself?
Threw all that out the window.
He and David Chase did that.
They made it okay to do that
because people watched
and people couldn't get enough of it.
So I think he'll be
remembered as a pioneer...
who was better
than he thought he was.
I'm just in total
denial about it.
And probably always will be.
You know, I'm just like
our schedules are just
not connecting.
You know,
and that would happen.
We'd go months,
many months sometimes
just missing each other,
you know.
That's how I'm treating it
in my mind.
You know, we're just
missing each other.
Eventually we'll catch up.
I was proud to be his friend.
I'm proud to be his friend.
And I'm gonna
carry him with me...
throughout my career,
throughout my life.
- He taught me everything
- I need to know
to be a great man.
I just wanna make sure
I make him proud.
Whenever I went to an HBO event
or even anywhere,
you know, there's always
that 1% chance
his giant hand
would come and like...
mush my face
and, you know, grab me
and kiss me and hug me.
For me, the thing
that sticks out the most
is that that's never
gonna happen again.
Even in his death
he brought us all together.
He made us want to be there
and hug each other
and give love to each other
and give affection
to one another and care.
That's pretty remarkable too.
I don't know what else
to tell you.
He was a good boy.
That was probably one of the
most surreal days of my entire life
because most of the people
I hadn't seen since the show had wrapped,
our whole crew, our whole cast,
it was like a scene we shot.
We've done this
so many times before.
That was like a funeral
for, like, a king.
You know you did
something good in life
when people send you off
like that.
That's not just like
a famous person's service.
That's like,
"You did a lot of good
and this is how we want
to remember.
You know, this is how we want
to say good-bye to you. "
They were putting the coffin
into the hearse
and all the cars were lined up
outside the church
and they were gonna go
to the cemetery and bury him.
I hear...
And I look up,
and this giant eagle
comes swooping down
over the hearse
and sits up
on top of the church
and looks down on everybody.
And it was Jim.
And it stayed there,
looked at everybody for about a minute.
And as the cars drove away...
it flapped away
and went up to the sky.
"You can travel down the road,
check on every vine.
You can travel down the road,
you can travel down the line.
But there were few like Jimmy.
He was homemade wine.
Honest, good, pure,
nothing added.
Wants you to have a good time
sharing with friends
like family.
He was homemade wine.
You need a dollar?
You got Jim.
Loyalty and truthfulness...
that was him.
Believing in something
good out there.
Never got in the way,
he was always fair.
A good brother, a good son,
good father.
He always tried his best.
And all the rest.
He was homemade wine.