'Sopranos' Gandolfini sued over an offer he did refuse

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The Independent Online

Uma Thurman and her husband, Ethan Hawke, have incurred the wrath of Sopranos mobster James Gandolfini by suing him over a deal to buy their New York home.

The couple are refusing to return the $300,000 (£140,000) deposit that Gandolfini, who plays the neurotic Mafia don Tony Soprano in the Channel 4 series, paid for the Greenwich Village residence.

The three met last week and were on the verge of completing the multimillion-dollar deal when, in a twist that would have had his screen character reaching for the Prozac, Gandolfini realised his plans to convert the property may have hit a hitch. He had hoped to restore the three apartments to a family house, complete with lift but claims he was unaware of planning restrictions and now wants to pull out of the deal.

Thurman and Hawke were impatient to seal the deal after a contract was signed on 10 July. A friend of Gandolfini told the New York Post: "These are friends. [Gandolfini] got a call from Ethan the night before they filed. Ethan's number got cut off on the answering machine, so it took Jim a day to get back to them. By the time he did, he'd already heard that he was getting sued. Now he's livid."

The friend of the actor added: "Jim was buying it for himself and he was probably going to gut it and put in an elevator and there are rules that prevent you from taking a multi-residence and turning it into a single residence."

Hawke and Thurman vacated the property on 13th Street eight months ago when they moved to Gramercy Park, also in Manhattan. The couple, who have been married for three years and who are expecting their second child in January, claim in the lawsuit that Gandolfini is "trying to avoid his obligations under the contract".