An air of sadness hung over the New York premiere of the romantic comedy Enough Said on Monday night, the absence of late co-star James Gandolfini looming large over the otherwise joyous event.
Gandolfini died while on a trip to Italy in June, at the age of 51, and in his stead at the Paris Theater were his family and several of his co-stars from the HBO drama The Sopranos, the hit for which the late actor is best remembered. Several of the mob drama's tributaries walked the red carpet in front of the theater, including Edie Falco, the Emmy-winning actress who played his wife Carmela on the show; Tony Sirico; Steve Schirippa; Aida Turturro; and Vincent Curatola. Show creator David Chase was also in attendance.
As they posed for photos, Gandolfini, featured on the film's poster smiling next to co-star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, peeked out over his old friends' shoulders, like he was watching the proceedings.
In short opening remarks, writer/director Nicole Holofcener introduced and invited to the stage the cast and crew of her film, which focuses on two divorcées looking for a second shot at love in middle age. Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette, and several others took a bow for the audience, leaving Holofcener to address the painful absence.
"Obviously, Jim is not here, and I'm very sad that he's not standing up here with us right now," she said, fighting through obvious emotion. "He hasn't seen the movie — he never saw the movie — so maybe he's watching. I'm very honored that his family is here. And I'm also thrilled that so many people that worked with him for so many years, and really loved him and knew him are here. Thank you for coming and sharing with us."
Applause followed both her short speech and Gandolfini's first appearance in the film; the end credits revealed a simple "For Jim" dedication, which also prompted a bittersweet round of clapping.
The movie, which has been roundly praised by critics, was received warmly by the audience, both for Louis-Dreyfus' trademark comedic timing in the role of a harried masseuse dealing with her daughter's final summer at home and the challenge of post-divorce dating, and for bringing out a more gentle side of Gandolfini that was often covered by the tough-guy characters that dominated his career.