The upcoming prequel movie to renowned crime-drama series The Sopranos has cast its young Tony Soprano.
On the way is The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel film co-written by The Sopranos creator David Chase. It will be set in the ’60s around the time of the Newark riots, a period that saw the city’s African Americans and Italians clashing as gang business reached boiling point. The plot will follow Dickie Moltisanti (played by Alessandro Nivola), a mentor to young Tony as his own father, Johnny Boy, was grooming his son on a pathway to organised crime prominence.
Set to take on the role of a young Tony Soprano, a role memorably played by the late James Gandolfini for all six seasons of the acclaimed HBO game-changer, is none other than Michael Gandolfini, James’ son. Deadline broke the news, reporting that the filmmakers had gone through a big audition process before deciding on Gandolfini, who wonderfully tapped into Tony’s mannerisms and benefited from looking a lot like his father. He reportedly became a no-brainer of a choice.
“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini, who’s had a recurring role in HBO series The Deuce, said in a statement. “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.”
It’s an interesting bit of casting that could work well. It brings to mind the casting of O’Shea Jackson Jr. in Straight Outta Compton, where he played his father, Ice Cube. And it could certainly be a career-maker for the actor; the high-profile film will also be starring Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen and Corey Stoll.
Directing The Many Saints of Newark is Alan Taylor, who directed 9 episodes of The Sopranos and whose long career directing television includes Oz, Sex and the City, Deadwood, Lost, Rome and Game of Thrones. Taylor’s previous feature film credits include Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys.