HACKENSACK, N.J. (AP) — One of James Gandolfini's unfinished projects, before his untimely death last month, was to portray a New Jersey native who played an unusual role in international diplomacy.

Hackensack restaurateur Bobby Egan had a well-documented, decades-long friendship with North Korean diplomats posted to the United Nations in New York.

Egan's book about his experiences dealing with the North Koreans, called "Eating with the Enemy," was optioned by HBO.

A spokeswoman for HBO says the project is continuing despite Gandolfini's death.

Egan formed his unlikely ties to the North Koreans in the early 1990's, following an introduction by Vietnamese officials he met through his activism on the search for missing American soldiers.

He often hosted them at Cubby's in Hackensack, or took them on fishing trips or to Giants games.