The Drop director Michaël R. Roskam talks about being one of the last to work with James Gandolfini

The Drop director Michaël R. Roskam talks about being one of the last to work with James Gandolfini

Michaël R. Roskam (Image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) Michaël R. Roskam (Image: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
 

The crime thriller The Drop features one of the final on-screen performances by James Gandolfini. Questions about what it was like to work with the late Sopranos actor were bound to arise at Saturday afternoon’s TIFF press conference for the film, attended by stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Matthias Schoenaerts, writer Dennis Lehane, and director Michaël R. Roskam. Sure enough, Gandolfini was the first subject up for discussion.

“He’s a great actor, great artist, and a great man,” Roskam said. “To be a director and see this icon, one of the greatest actors of his generation, perform so close to you was an inspiration for all of us.” Rapace, a twist of pink shot through her long blonde hair, took some issue with Roskam’s account what it was like to put the cast together (he initially approached Hardy over Skype, wow). Also discussed: dialogue coaches, bars as sociological studies (ew). It was not a scintillating discussion.

Things picked up when one reporter asked Lehane about his “keen interest in the criminal underworld,” which is kind of like asking Stephen King about his “keen interest in scary stuff.” Ever-eloquent, the Mystic River and Shutter Island writer boiled things down to American class antagonism, before comparing himself to the Bard. “I think it’s a rig game,” Lehane said of the split between the haves and have-nots. “It always has been. I’m interested in the have-not side. Because that’s who I grew up with…All noir is working-class tragedy. The difference between noir and Shakespeare is the heights they fall from. In Shakespeare the king falls from a height. In noir, the hero falls from a curb.”