James Gandolfini’s son cast as young Tony Soprano in prequel movie

“The Many Saints of Newark” will take us back to Jersey with a look at life in the DiMeo crime family before the Soprano’s reigned
Michael Gandolfini is set to play a young Tony Soprano in an upcoming prequel to the hit HBO Series. The role was made famous by his father, James Gandolfini, who died in 2013. [Associated Press]
Michael Gandolfini is set to play a young Tony Soprano in an upcoming prequel to the hit HBO Series. The role was made famous by his father, James Gandolfini, who died in 2013. [Associated Press]
Published January 23
Updated January 23

Hold onto your gabagool and fire up the Caddy, we’re going back to Jersey with David Chase’s The Many Saints of Newark, a feature film set in the world of his legendary HBO series The Sopranos.

The prequel movie will be based around characters from and inspired by the show, including the recent casting of Michael Gandolfini as a young version of the character made indelibly famous by his late father.

“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini said in a statement to entertainment news website Deadline. “I’m thrilled that I’m going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for The Many Saints of Newark."

Robert Iler, left, and Michael Gandolfini attend HBO's
Robert Iler, left, and Michael Gandolfini attend HBO's "The Sopranos" 20th anniversary at the SVA Theatre on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in New York. [Associated Press]

David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, wrote the film with Sopranos writer Lawrence Konner. It’ll be directed by Alan Taylor, who himself directed nine episodes of the series before going on to helm Thor: The Dark World and Terminator: Genisys, as well as seven episodes of Game of Thrones.

Chase hasn’t released many details of the film, but what we do know is it will take place around the Newark riots in 1967, which were a response to escalating tension between African-American and Italian American communities. The movie also features Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti, the father of Tony’s protege in the series, Christopher Moltisanti. The elder Moltisanti never appears in the show but is a major part of his son’s backstory and Tony’s formation into the ruthless gangster he becomes.

The film also stars Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen and Corey Stoll. Aside from Tony, a number of other series regulars, like Corrado “Junior” Soprano are likely to make an appearance, as are more heard-of-but-not-seen figures like Tony’s dad Giovanni “Johnny Boy” Soprano. Maybe we’ll even get a glimpse of that scarring moment from Tony’s youth where he witnessed his dad beat mercilessly the owner of Satriale’s and suffered his first panic attack.


According to Deadline, there’s no better actor out there to handle that pivotal scene like Gandolfini. Deadline reported that the filmmakers searched extensively for the young Tony. Gandolfini, 19, had to bring chops, not just pedigree, to the process. In the end, his understanding of the character and ability to recreate Tony’s mannerisms won producers over. The uncanny resemblance to his late father helps. Not bad considering the show, which recently celebrated it’s 20th anniversary, is a year older than him.


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