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James Gandolfini in Talks for Crime Pic ‘Animal Rescue’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Fox Searchlight pic stars Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace

James Gandolfini looks to be returning to the criminal underworld, as he is in talks to join the cast of the Fox Searchlight crime pic “Animal Rescue” starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.

Bullhead” helmer Michael R. Roskam will helm with his “Bullhead” star Matthias Schoenaerts on board to star. Pic is based on the Dennis Lehane short story and follows a man who wants to shed his criminal past but somehow gets mixed up in a bad heist and a killing, resulting from a lost and contested pitbull.

Chernin Entertainment is producing.

Since “The Sopranos” ended in 2007, Gandolfini has balanced commercial material like “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” and the upcoming “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” with prestige projects such as David Chase’s “Not Fade Away” and Sony’s “Zero Dark Thirty.” He has also returned to gangsterland with his recent appearance in “Killing Them Softly.”

He is repped by CAA, Sanders Armstrong Caserta Management and attorney David Weber.

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