Pop Culture

James Gandolfini's final films will be released in 2014

Fans of James Gandolfini's work will get to spend a little more time with the Emmy-winning actor on the big screen. "The Sopranos" star, who died of a heart attack while on vacation in Italy on Wednesday, completed two movies that will probably be released next year, a spokesperson at Creative Artists Agency said.

In a 360-degree departure from the grittier types of roles Gandolfini is most known for, the 51-year-old actor played a lovable sweetheart in the Fox Searchlight dramedy, "Enough Said." Gandolfini plays Albert, who falls in love with a woman played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Catherine Keener plays Albert's ex wife. Shot last summer in Los Angeles, "Enough Said" was directed by Nicole Holofcener ("Friends with Money").

Gandolfini's last movie will be "Animal Rescue," also a Fox Searchlight production that filmed in Brooklyn. Based on a short story by Dennis Lehane, the film stars Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace. Gandolfini plays a cousin of Hardy's character, who owns the bar where he works. It was directed by Michael Roskam ("Bullhead").

Gandolfini also was due to return to the network that transformed him from character actor to superstar. The actor was set to star in a HBO seven-episode mini-series and a movie.

Jason LaVeris / Today
James Gandolfini at the premiere of "Zero Dark Thirty" in Hollywood in 2012.

The miniseries, "Criminal Justice," is based on the BBC series of the same title and featured Gandolfini as an ambulance-chasing lawyer who is in over his head while defending a man accused of murdering a girl. An HBO spokesperson said the network hasn't decided on the future of the project.

Pat Healy, the screenwriter working on "Eating with the Enemy," an HBO film that would have starred Gandolfini, said that project is up in the air now but he hopes to complete it "for Jim." Based on barbecue chef Robert Egan's memoir about the 15 years he spent as a conduit between the U.S. and North Korean governments, the film was in its final rewrite stages.

Healy, who met with Gandolfini and HBO executives in Santa Monica on Friday to get their notes for his final rewrite, said "The Sopranos" star loved the script and was excited to travel to New Jersey to meet with Egan in person.

"It’s sad those guys will never meet," Healy said. "I think they would have been friends. Although I can’t possibly imagine who we will do the movie with, I have a new sense of invigoration of getting it done for Jim. I just want to do a really great job for him because he would have wanted that."

HBO paid a short tribute to the actor on YouTube on Friday.