Mike Fleming

Brad Pitt, opening this weekend in World War Z, has issued a statement on the passing of James Gandolini at age 51. They starred together, along with Julia Roberts in the Gore Verbinski-directed The Mexican, a movie that came along just as Gandolfini was watching his star rise because of The Sopranos. More recently they starred in Killing Them Softly, and they also appeared in the Tony Scott-directed True Romance, in which Pitt played a small but memorable role as a stoner.

“I admire Jimmy as a ferocious actor, a gentle soul and a genuinely funny man,” Pitt said. “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.”