After director Nicole Holofcener introduced her cast on-stage, her voice started to break. "Obviously, Jim is not here," Holofcener said. "And I'm very sad that he's not standing here with us. He hadn't seen the movie. Maybe he's watching."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who called Holofcener her "sister soul mate," felt the same wave of bittersweet emotions. "His character is very close to the person he was," she said, explaining why it was hard to watch back some of their scenes together. "We miss him."
At the after-party, some of Gandolfini's family and Hollywood peers assembled with "Sopranos" creator David Chase in several booths at the back of Rouge Tomate.
"He lived his life to the fullest and he loved life," said his sister Leta Gandolfini, who appreciated the upbeat tone of his final starring role. "This was a nice film for him to show to his family."
Anthony Bregman, one of the film's producers, said he was shocked to hear of Gandolfini's death in June from a heart attack.
"It was hard to deal with the reality of it," he said. "Then we went back to the movie and we all watched it again to see if it changed for us. It changed in some ways. The comedy played just as well. The poignant moments are much more poignant, because we weren't going to see him again."
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