The Mexican, James Gandolfini, Julia Roberts

Merrick Morton/Dreamworks

It's not every day you get to direct James Gandolfini as a gay hit man.

But Gore Verbinski did exactly that in The Mexican.

"I think he went there," Verbinski remembered earlier today while promoting his latest flick, The Lone Ranger. "He won't do anything half way."

Verbinski called the late Sopranos star "gracious and beautiful."

"I just felt every time he gave a performance, it was like he was giving a piece of himself," he said.

Verbinski added, "He was just a great man, but complicated."

In the best possible way.

PHOTOS: James Gandolfini's biggest roles in TV and film

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