Imagine if New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano suddenly became the Mayor of New York City? Variety is reporting that James Gandolfini, best known for his starring role in the long-running HBO series The Sopranos, will be joining The Taking of Pelham 123. Gandolfini is set to play Hizzoner (AKA The Mayor) in Tony Scott's remake of the 1974 thriller.

Gandolfini steps into the role inhabited by Lee Wallace in the original, a politician felled by the flu, stuck in bed, and motivated more by a selfish desire to be reelected than any altruistic concern for his fellow citizens.

Before The Sopranos, Gandolfini established himself as a colorful and versatile character actor (Crimson Tide, Get Shorty, A Civil Action). He was so supremely charismatic and memorably menacing as Tony Soprano, though, that his other recent roles have paled in comparison. Variety says he has other projects in development, based on writer Ernest Hemingway and basketball camp guru Sonny Vaccaro, that may showcase more of his range. Monika Bartyzel also noted recently that he's set to play Marvin Gaye's manager in Sexual Healing.

As Jessica Barnes originally reported, Pelham 123 will star Denzel Washington as a Transit Police officer charged with trying to foil a criminal gang that has hijacked a subway train. John Travolta will play the gang's ruthless leader. Production in New York City evidently began on February 7 and is scheduled to continue through July 4, according to the NYC Mayor's Office of Film Theatre & Broadcasting (PDF document). The film is due for release from Columbia Pictures in 2009.
categories Cinematical