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“This is kind of the final nail in the coffin”: Brad Pitt Did the Impossible by Convincing James Gandolfini to Play Yet Another Mob Role That Saved $147M Julia Roberts Movie

Brad Pitt Did the Impossible by Convincing James Gandolfini to Play Yet Another Mob Role That Saved $147M Julia Roberts Movie

James Gandolfini who tragically passed away in 2013, erupting a wave of pain and tears among his fans, had been one of the most renowned actors in Hollywood. Best known for his role as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, Gandolfini often played the role of mobsters with utmost perfection, throughout his extensive career. 

James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini

Following his demise, a surprising tribute came from Brad Pitt with whom James Gandolfini shared the screen in the 2001’s The Mexican. The truth is Pitt and Gandolfini shared classic moments, during their 2001 film alongside Julia Roberts, after the Fight Club actor convinced the late actor to once again reprise the role, that best suited him. 

Also read: “He thought he was going to die young”: Brad Pitt Recalls Eerie Night Out With Bruce Lee’s Son That Ended With the Actor’s Prediction of His Own Death

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Brad Pitt Convinced James Gandolfini For The Mexican 

Witnessing James Gandolfini’s range as a perfect mob boss, Brad Pitt did the impossible when he convinced the late actor to appear in his and Julia Roberts’ 2001 dark comedy adventure crime film, The Mexican. Pleading him to join the cast as a gay mob hitman, Pitt convinced Gandolfini that the role of Leroy was simply made for him. 

The Mexican
The Mexican (2001)

However, after doing several projects where he appeared as a mobster, James Gandolfini almost denied the role. But he was simply “tortured” by Pitt until he accepted. Thus, during an interview with ABC News, Gandolfini revealed how he accepted the role by convincing himself one last time. 

He tortured me, tortured me, tortured me. Then I started thinking, ‘I’ve done a bunch of these guys and this is kind of the final nail in the coffin. This is where you are at the end.’ So maybe if I played it that way in my mind, this is the last one, then it got interesting.” 

Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt convinced James Gandolfini to play gay mobster

Eventually, James Gandolfini simply rocked the role of a gay mob hitman, Leroy in Gore Verbinski’s The Mexican, featuring Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. His appearance was later hailed by fans and was deemed a savior for the $147M project. 

Also read: “He didn’t have a name”: Robert De Niro Almost Replaced James Gandolfini In The Sopranos After Original Creator Was Ridiculed By Agency For Pitching Mob Drama

James Gandolfini Saved Brad Pitt And Julia Roberts’ Movie 

Evidently, after playing the same kind of roles for more than a decade, even James Gandolfini was tired of repetition. However, after Brad Pitt convinced him, even the late actor couldn’t reject Pitt. Thus, Gandolfini took on the role of the gay mob hitman for one last time. However, to his surprise, Gandolfini’s character was highly appreciated by fans and the actor earned praise.

James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini as Leroy in The Mexican

Earning a 54% RT rating, The Mexican garnered mixed reviews, but its attempt at originality and James Gandolfini’s appearance was appreciated by all. The particular scene involving the late actor earned the most praise. “The scenes between Roberts and Gandolfini make the film special. … Their dialogue scenes are the best reason to see the film.” critics stated. 

James Gandolfini
Gandolfini single-handedly saved Pitt and Roberts’ The Mexican

Roger Ebert simply wrote, “if it had been a Pitt/Roberts two-hander, there wouldn’t have been room for Gandolfini’s wonderful character, and that would have been a shame.” He further mentioned, “it works when Gandolfini is on screen; when he leaves, he takes the movie with him.” Few further stated, “Gandolfini is a star on the rise. His work in The Mexican is solid.” 

Thus, in the end, despite Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts’ star power, it was apparently James Gandolfini whose presence saved the $147M movie. 

The Mexican is streaming on Amazon Video. 

Read more: Julia Roberts Took a Massive Risk With Her $463.4M Breakout Movie That Was Turned Down by Top Gun 2 Star Jennifer Connelly For Originally Being Too Dark

Source: ABC News, Roger Ebert

Written by Krittika Mukherjee

Finding her escapism in art and fiction, Krittika joined our team at FandomWire with a penchant for creativity. But when she's not working, this diehard Potterhead sets out to explore the world and learn new things.