THE SOPRANOS star Drea de Matteo has signed to star alongside MATT LeBLANC in the actor's new FRIENDS spin-off sitcom JOEY.

The 32-year-old actress - who plays ADRIANA LaCERVA in the gangster series - will play JOEY TRIBBIANI's older sister GINA in the new comedy.

De Matteo says, "It was very, very unexpected. I never even had the chance to think about it.

"I play a hairdresser - my character is very similar in look and accent to Adriana, but sharper and tougher.

"Matt is a great guy and I couldn't have asked for a better actor to fall into the hands of."

12/05/2004 17:22