James Gandolfini died Wednesday after the 51-year-old suffered what was reported to be a major heart attack, leaving the actor’s last project in limbo.
Though Gandolfini was best known for his portrayal as mobster Tony Soprano on The Sopranos, he continued a busy acting schedule after the show ended in 2007. In the past year he appeared in Zero Dark Thirty as director of the CIA and played casino owner Doug Munny In The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
Gandolfini had signed on to star opposite Steve Carell in new HBO movie called Bone Wars. The period comedy is based on the Great Dinosaur Rush of the 19th century, when a scientists engaged in a mad scramble to discover dinosaur bones and identify new species.
During the Great Dinosaur Rush there were 160 new species of dinosaur discovered, but the project is being developed as a comedy. It was to follow the historical rivalry between Othniel Charles Marsh (James Gandolfini) and Edward Drinker Cope (Steve Carell), onetime friends who grew into enemies as they competed for discoveries.
When Carell joined the project in April it was listed as still in development, with HBO still searching for a writer. Gandolfini had signed on as executive producer along with Steve Carell.
With no writer identified, it seems possible that Bone Wars will be scrapped or move in a different direction with a new lead character.
Fans also won’t be able to see Gandolfini in Criminal Justice, a crime drama created for HBO but not picked up. The show was an adaptation of Peter Moffat’s 2008 BBC crime drama, and had James Gandolfini slated as the star.
Either way, fans of the late James Gandolfini will have at least one more chance to watch him in action. He finished filming on Animal Rescue, a movie co-starring Tom Hardy that was billed as “a crime-drama centered around a lost pit bull, a wannabe scam artist, and a killing.” It is scheduled for a 2014 release.