Who could possibly follow James Gandolfini in portraying Tony Soprano, one of the most nuanced and celebrated TV characters ever written? David Chase’s The Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark has found its answer: the late actor’s own son, Michael Gandolfini.
“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini told Deadline Tuesday. “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.”
Gandolfini—who has had previous roles in HBO’s The Deuce and Ocean’s Eight—joins Alessandro Nivola, Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga in the film that will give a look at the foundations of many characters central to the original HBO series. Penned by Chase and Lawrence Konner for New Line, The Many Saints of Newark will depict racial tensions amidst the Newark riots of the 1960s.
Although the original show’s subject matter of criminal racketeering and interfamilial violence was foreign to most, Tony Soprano’s turn-of-the-century woes were familiar to many Americans. James Gandolfini won three Emmys, three SAG awards and a Golden Globe in setting the pace for complex antihero performances to come. This begs the question: In the 1960’s-set Many Saints of Newark, how has David Chase been able to write characters that will relay modern woes? Will Michael Gandolfini be given the same opportunity as his father to tap into the American consciousness?
Explore everything else we know about The Many Saints of Newark so far here.