In the aftermath of James Gandolfini's death last week at the age of 51, the world witnessed an outpouring of grief, rememberances, and love from celebrities, politicans, and fans. Through his work in television and film, the actor's cultural impact was significant - but in the wake of his death, we're also hearing more about the organizations he quietly supported; making a difference for many outside his craft.

I've already written about Gadolfini's work over the years to raise the profile of injured military veterans - and now, it's clear that he also had a big place in his life for animals. In response to his passing, Last Chance Animal Rescue released the following picture and statement on its Facebook page.

"We are very saddened to hear of the sudden passing of James Gandolfini, pictured here with his rescue Duke. A great actor and wonderful advocate for an often misunderstood breed. His final film will be Fox Searchlight's crime drama "Animal Rescue" which includes a pit bull as a focal point in the story. Much beloved by those who worked with him and known to be a kind and gentle soul, we applaud his efforts to provide a voice for the voiceless and our prayers are with his wife and children, his family and friends as they mourn the loss of a life too short lived."
I've been following the development of "Animal Rescue" for a bit now and have high hopes for what appears to be a moving film with a gritty story. It revolves around a bartender (Tom Hardy) who finds a wounded Pit Bull puppy in a garbage can and decides to rescue him. Unfortunately, the puppy belongs to some criminal character who wants him back. Apparently, it all goes downhill from there. Gandolfini plays the owner of the bar where Hardy works.

To read a snippet from the film, which is based on a short story by “Gone Baby Gone” author Dennis Lehane, click here.

In a statement to TheWarp, "Animal Rescue's" director Michael Roskam said: "It was such an honor to work with Mr Gandolfini and nothing but a pleasure to see him perform. He was one of the greatest. I'm so sad and thinking about his family. I wanted to make him proud with the movie we made together and now it will be in his loving memory."

Look for "Animal Rescue" to be released sometime in 2014.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

James Gandolfini's final film promotes pit bull rescue
Actor, who passed away last week from a heart attack, will star posthumously in the crime drama 'Animal Rescue' due in 2014.