In honor of the late James Gandolfini and his life and career in the film industry, GQ Magazine has decided to feature “The Soprano” icon on the cover of its 18th annual GQ Men of the Year issue. Read more on the trials and tribulation of James Gandolfini’s acting life here.
The publication’s tribute notably includes an article penned by German watchmaker and close friend to Gandolfini, Michael Kobold. Kobold’s article memorializes the famed actor, spanning the beginning of an unlikely friendship from an over-the-phone chance encounter to receiving the sad and sudden news of Gandolfini’s passing. It also offers candid insight into Gandolfini’s inner struggle with the actor’s limelight, his wild temper and appeasing soft side.
Below are some of the highlights from Kobold’s two-page article:
On Gandolfini’s mercurial temperament:
“I’d been scanning The New York Times for hours when Jim shuffled out, grumbled at me, and sat down to read the New York Post. For five minutes or so, we had a one-sided conversation…Jim’s grip on the paper began to tighten until he was practically crumpling it. “So help me God, if you ask me one more f*cking question, I will get you deported, you f*cking German!” he yelled. Jim’s temper could run hot, but it also passed quickly. Ten minutes later, after some coffee, he smiled at me. “I’m sorry, Kobold, but you can be so f*cking annoying in the morning.” “I’ll try to be less happy tomorrow,” I told him. “No, don’t do that. Just don’t direct all your happiness towards me.”
On the difficulties Kobold had with the Italian authorities when trying to bring Gandolfini back:
“The initial news in Rome wasn’t good: Patricia Hill, the U.S. vice consul at the embassy, told me it would be as long as a week before the body could be cleared. Jim had passed on a Wednesday night and was already at the morgue by the time I got to Rome the next morning. After an autopsy, he would be held until we could get his remains repatriated. But in the near term, progress was looking grim.”
On addressing the paparazzi for the first time on behalf of the Gandolfini family:
“The minute that door opened, it was like stepping into a movie scene: There were probably ten TV cameras, twenty still photographers, and so many journalists that every seat in the small meeting room was filled. The spillover was standing along the walls. If you watch the tape, I seem cold and wooden—the prototypical German!—but I was basically frozen with fear, capable only of reading a prepared statement. “Today, we received the results of the autopsy, which stated he died of a heart attack, of natural causes,” I read. “Once we have the clearance, we will put him on a flight to America. It is up to the Italian authorities to decide how quickly.” I took no questions. And then I had to do it again the next day and the one after.”
For the full article click here.