Even before James Gandolfini spent years winning a slew of awards and engaging audiences as Tony Soprano, one of TV’s most ruthless and entertaining characters, he was usually cast as a henchman or a big hulking baddie, in films such as Get Shorty and True Romance. But after The Sopranos went off the air? Fuhgeddaboudit! There’s no escaping the crime life for Gandolfini.

For his next role, Variety reports he’ll next don his criminal duds for Animal Rescue, a crime film that will soon begin production through Fox Searchlight. This will be the second feature directed by Michaël R. Roskam, who last released the Belgian crime drama Bullhead. Gandolfini will join Bullhead’s star, Matthias Schoenaerts, who is also in both the Belgian and American remake of the mystery drama The Loft. Also starring in the film are Tom Hardy, who will next be stepping into the titular Mad Max role, and Noomi Rapace, who can currently be seen in Niels Arden Oplev’s Dead Man Down.

Animal Rescue was based on a short story from author Dennis Lehane that appeared in the anthology Boston Noir. Lehane himself also wrote the screenplay, which centers on how a downward spiral of events - including a lost pit bull, a murder, and a heist gone wrong – pull a man right back into the life of crime he was trying to put behind him. The story was not specific about which actors would be playing which roles.

Gandolfini, who kept his 2012 busy with solid roles in Zero Dark Thirty,Not Fade Away and Killing Them Softly, can next be seen this Friday as a cranky casino owner in The Amazing Burt Wonderstone.

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