What is it like to work with the late James Gandolfini? Noomi Rapace knows. The original Girl in the Dragon Tattoo stars in The Drop—in select theaters now, and opening across America on Sept. 19—which turned out to be one of Gandolfini’s final roles. “He had this amazing ability to be both like vulnerable and strong, and frightening and likable,” Rapace told InStyle during the Toronto International Film Festival, where she was promoting the crime drama with costar Tom Hardy.
“It’s very few that can do what he did,” she said. “It feels like he’s with us somehow. Because he’s in the movie and he feels kind of alive and part of it, and on the journey.”
The movie is Gandolfini’s specialty: Crime drama with a twist. It tells the story of Bob Saginowski (Hardy), a lonely Brooklyn bartender at Cousin Marv’s (Gandolfini) bar, a go-to spot for the organized crime world to “drop” their money—you know, the kind of cash that can’t really live in a bank. He wants nothing to do with the crime world, but gets sucked back in when both a robbery goes wrong and when he rescues a pit bull puppy, which is how he meets Nadia (Rapace).
Getting to know Brooklyn was the Swede’s favorite part of filming. “I thought that Brooklyn was much smaller and it’s almost like its own city,” Rapace said. “You can go from richer, hipster areas to places with young artists and fashion designers, and then it can be dodgy and you have to be careful,” she said. “It was an inspiring place to work. If you’re shooting in a studio you have to imagine more.”
Check out a trailer for the film below.