James Gandolfini’s Final Film Co-Stars a Pit Bull

"Animal Rescue," due in 2014, reflects the star's interest in Pit Bull advocacy.


As the world mourns the sudden passing of James Gandolfini, Jezebel tipped us off to a side of the actor we hadn’t known: Pit Bull advocate. On Wednesday, this message appeared on the Facebook page of Last Chance Animal Rescue, a volunteer nonprofit that rescues animals from kill shelters that still using inhumane methods such as gas chambers and heartsticks.

We are very saddened to hear of the sudden passing of James Gandolfini, pictured here with his rescue Duke. A great actor and wonderful advocate for an often misunderstood breed. … Much beloved by those who worked with him and known to be a kind and gentle soul, we applaud his efforts to provide a voice for the voiceless and our prayers are with his wife and children, his family and friends as they mourn the loss of a life too short lived.

The message also tells of Gandolfini’s final film, Fox Searchlight’s crime drama Animal Rescue, which includes a Pit Bull as a focal point in the story. Set in Brooklyn, the film stars Gandolfini, Tom Hardy, and Noomi Rapace, and it was written by dog lover Dennis Lehane, whose books Shutter Island and Mystic River were made into movies.

In a Los Angles Times article, writer Steven Zeitchik talks about visiting the set and finding Gandolfini a gracious actor: “When lunch was called, he didn’t retreat to his trailer like so many other actors but sat with the grippers and gaffes, talking about everything under the sun, including dogs, a big theme in the film.”

The film is said to promote Pit Bull rescue and is scheduled to be released in 2014.

Here are some photos of one of the leads in the film, actor Tom Hardy, hugging a Pit Bull puppy on the set.

We think this is going to be a very good movie.

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