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'Welcome to the Rileys': Gandolfini, Stewart savor low-key roles


riley Photo Credit: Handout

Hollywood lore is filled with tales of actors on top of the world helming iconic franchises, only to find themselves typecast into oblivion, reliving the glory days over and over again

James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart, the biggest names in two of the past decade’s pop cultural phenomena — “The Sopranos” and “Twilight,” respectively — have taken concrete steps to avoid that fate.

Their latest departure: co-starring in “Welcome to the Rileys,” a deeply personal film about the platonic friendship between a married man and a teenage stripper.

amNewYork spoke with a grumpy Gandolfini — who, honestly, seemed like he’d rather be doing anything but talking with us — and Stewart about the movie, which opens in theaters Friday.

How did you avoid the convolutions that usually torpedo movies about teenage prostitutes?
Gandolfini: I think [director] Jake [Scott] made sure those weren’t there. I don’t think he hired people [who] were really down for them.

Kristen, how does it feel to be wrapping up “Twilight”?
I can’t wait to get the story out. That’s one thing that obviously never goes away. I’ve always looked at this thing as one story. It’s like one movie broken up.

Do people still confuse you with Tony Soprano?
It’s funny. As soon as the show stops, [that] drops exponentially. It just goes down. So it’s pretty much disappeared.
KS: People ask me that all the time. “So how was it working with Tony Soprano?” Like in interviews. “Was it intimidating? Was it scary?”

James, as an actor with a reputation for not loving the press, is it easier to promote a movie like this than some giant Hollywood film at a big junket?
I like to support little movies like these, smaller movies that try to say something in a good, interesting way. Sometimes I wonder how much this actually helps. But it really isn’t that terrible. I’ve had much worse jobs.


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