Upcoming The Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, will delve into the younger years of iconic mobster Tony Soprano, played by the late, great James Gandolfini’s real-life son, Michael. While the prospect of taking over as such a celebrated character would be terrifying for any performer, the task will no doubt prove to be even more emotional for the young actor, who has now provided some insight into both the movie itself, and how he came to win the role.
“I had this unspoken trust that David wasn’t going to cast me if there was even a shred that this isn’t going to work.”
Despite being Gandolfini’s real-life offspring, Michael Gandolfiniauditioned for writer and crator David Chase just like everybody else. In fact, the actor initially had no intention of putting himself forward for the role. Upon hearing about The Many Saints of Newark, Gandolfini’s first thoughts were “Absolutely not. What if I’m not good?” Eventually though, his manager persuaded him to go for it, which resulted in him watching the first season of The Sopranos for the very first time.
“It was really hard to watch my dad. I recorded four hours of his monologues with Melfi and walked around New York with them constantly, constantly, constantly playing in my ear.”
The Many Saints of Newark will precede David Chase’s hugely successful crime drama, The Sopranos, and provide some insight into the formative years of New Jersey gangster, Tony Soprano. “I was interested in Newark and life in Newark at that time,” series creator David Chase said in a 2019 interview. “I used to go to down there every Saturday night for dinner with my grandparents. But the thing that interested me most was Tony’s boyhood. I was interested in exploring that.”
Michael Gandolfini has now provided a little more detail about the movie, and what audiences can expect from Tony’s formative years. “It’s an origin story through the eyes of Dickie Moltisanti, Christopher’s father,” he revealed. “The Tony Soprano we know has this beautiful vulnerability underneath and this rough exterior, but what if we flip that on its side and you watch a creative, hopeful, kind, curious kid get whittled down and formed into what he has to be?”
Directed by Alan Taylor and written by David Chase and Lawrence Konner, The Many Saints of Newark has amassed a stellar cast that includes the likes of Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Punisher) and Vera Farmiga (The Departed, The Conjuring). Bernthal will star as Giovanni Francis “Johnny Boy” Soprano, the father of crime boss Tony Soprano, originally portrayed by Joseph Siravo in six episodes of the HBO drama, with Farmiga set to star alongside him as Giovanni’s wife and Tony’s mother, Livia Soprano, in a role originally played by Nancy Marchand.
The supporting cast includes Alessandro Nivola (A Most Violent Year) as Dickie Moltisanti, father of DiMeo crime family member Christopher Moltisanti, played by Michael Imperioli in The Sopranos, as well as Corey Stoll (Ant-Man), Billy Magnussen (No Time to Die), John Magaro (The Umbrella Academy), Leslie Odom Jr. (Murder on the Orient Express), Joey Diaz (Spider-Man 2) and Ray Liotta (Goodfellas).
The Many Saints of Newark is scheduled to hit screens on September 24, 2021, having been pushed back a full year from its original release date. Much like the rest of Warner Bros 2021 projects, The Many Saints of Newark will be released both in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. This comes to us from Vanity Fair.