EXCLUSIVE: Well, it is not a Sopranos movie but probably the next best thing for fans of the HBO mob drama. Former Sopranos leading man James Gandolfini is set to co-star in Sopranos creator David Chase’s next project, movie Twylight Zones, which, like the seminal HBO series, is set in New Jersey. It is one of three features Gandlofini will be juggling in the next few months. He is also in final negotiations to join Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock and and Cogan’s Trade toplined by Brad Pitt.
The Paramount-produced Twylight Zones is described as a drama about a New Jersey Rock’n’Roll band and the musical renaissance of the 1960s. It centers on Douglas (John Magaro), a socially awkward teen who begins to shine as lead singer in his band, The Twylight Zones. Gandolfini will play his father, an Italian-American who’s totally disgusted by his son’s infatuation with rock music. UPDATE: Also joining the film are Molly Price as Douglas’ mom and actor-comedian Brad Garrett.
The Weinstein Co. recently acquired domestic distribution rights to Cogan’s Trade, the Andrew Dominik-directed adaptation of the George V. Higgins novel. Brad Pitt plays the title character, Jackie Cogan, a professional enforcer who investigates a heist that takes place during a high stakes poker game held under the protection of the mob. Gandolfini will play a washed-up, alcoholic, hard-up for cash hit man who was brought on by Jackie to do the first job he’s done in a long time but proves to be more of a liability than of any service. Also co-starring in the movie are Casey Affleck and Sam Rockwell.
The Stephen Daldry-directed movie adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is a post-9/11 drama about a young boy who finds a key that belonged to his father (Hanks)— who died in the World Trade Center attacks — and searches for the lock that it opens. Gandolfini will play the boy’s mother’s (Bullock) male friend whom she met at a support group for people who have lost loved ones.
In addition to the 3 movies, Gandolfini is set to reunite with the rest of original cast members of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play God of Carnage for a six-week run at the Center Theatre Group’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from April 5 through May 15. Gandolfini, repped by CAA and Sanders.Armstrong.Caserta Management, next stars in the HBO film Cinema Verite, about the groundbreaking 1970s PBS series An American Family.