The Sopranos creator David Chase has found his Tony Soprano and it is none other than Michael Gandolfini, son of the late great James Gandolfini, who originally played the part for six seasons on HBO’s The Sopranos.
Michael is set to play his dad’s legendary role in The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to The Sopranos which will be directed by Alan Taylor.
You might be asking yourself, does the kid even act? Why, of course. James recently had a breakout turn on HBO’s “The Deuce.” I can vouch for his acting abilities, as he was, quite frankly, impressive on that show. Also, his resemblance to his late father is uncanny.
Deadline says that “The filmmakers engaged in an extensive audition process to find the young Tony before Gandolfini won the role. Insiders said that his screen presence, mastery of Tony’s mannerisms, coupled with his resemblance to the elder Gandolfini made him the standout choice for the role because no one there understood the character better, the insiders said.”
Also cast in The Many Saints In Newark are Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen and Corey Stoll. The film will be set in the ’60s with the Newark riots reaching their peak, and African Americans and Italians of that city violently clashing on a nightly basis.
“It was especially lethal among gangsters from each group. The story focuses on Dickie Moltisanti (Nivola), a mentor to young Tony as his own father, Johnny Boy, was grooming his son on a pathway to organized crime prominence. There are expected to be call-backs and shout-outs to numerous other series characters in the film, which is set in the earlier time period.”
“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 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.”
Taylor directed nine Sopranos episodes, a few chapters of Game of Thrones and, more tragically, Thor: The Dark World.