Though he was best known for playing cops and crooks, James Gandolfini – who just died very suddenly in Italy at the age of 51 – never touched my heart more than in his indisputably nerdiest role as Carol in Where the Wild Things Are. Voicing a giant, semi-scary plush creature of the imagination, he encapsulated both the unpredictable rage and the desperate neediness of a child who feels powerless against the larger world. He could eat you as easily as he’d hug you, but deep down all he needed was affirmation.
I’m pretty sure the actor who played him so well had it. Rest in peace.
UPDATE: Via Mental Floss, some more Gandolfini/Sendak goodness.