Brad Pitt says he's "gutted" over news of James Gandolfini's death.
The World War Z star, who acted opposite Gandolfini in 2012's Killing Them Softly, tells The Hollywood Reporter in a statement: "I admire Jimmy as a ferocious actor, a gentle soul and a genuinely funny man. I am fortunate to have sat across the table from him and am gutted by this loss. I wish his family strength and some semblance of peace."
Killing Them Softly, released by The Weinstein Company last November, fell short at the box office -- earning a rare F CinemaScore from moviegoers -- but boasted an A-list cast roster, teaming up Pitt and Gandolfini with respected actors Ray Liotta, Richard Jenkins and Sam Shepard.
The violent crime drama featured Pitt as a hitman hired to clean up after several small-time crooks who raid a Mob-protected card game in post-Katrina New Orleans. In an interview with THR, Gandolfini, who portrayed an aging killer-for-hire with a drinking problem, called the picture "a good gangster film; it’s enjoyable and it’s funny. It really is."
Gandolfini died Wednesday of a heart attack in Rome at age 51. As the news circulated, former colleagues of the Sopranos icon released statements of mourning.
“He was a genius. Anyone who saw him even in the smallest of his performances knows that," said Sopranos showrunner David Chase. "He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, 'You don't get it. You're like Mozart.'"