'The Sopranos' Prequel Casts Michela De Rossi in Lead Role

The Sopranos' upcoming prequel film The Many Saints of Newark has slowly been assembling its cast over the past few months. The Punisher's Jon Bernthal, James Gandolfini's son Michael, Leslie Odom Jr., and even Ray Liotta have all been announced in various roles. Now, though, the film has cast its final lead role with the Italian-born actress Michela De Rossi signing on.

According to Deadline, De Rossi is set to play "an ambitious Italian immigrant who comes to America and settles in Newark." The role will mark the first role for De Rossi in the United States and the report notes that her audition for the role was the first time she'd even been in the United States. De Rossi has previously appeared in the film Boys Cry as well as the Italian television series I topi (The Rats).

The film takes place during the Newark riots in the 1960s and will set the stage for the beginning of The Sopranos, which first premiered back in 1999. More specifically, the plot of the film will focus on the character Dickie Moltisanti, who was mentioned quite a bit in the original series but never actually shown. The lead is set to be played by Alessandro Nivola.

The Sopranos is considered by many as the greatest television series of all time. Over the course of its run, the show won 21 Emmy Awards and secured 111 nominations. It is widely credited as helping to establish the model that many premium cable series are based on now, such as other HBO series including Deadwood, Westworld, and Game of Thrones.

One of the more interesting aspects of the film is the casting of Michael Gandolfini as a young Tony Soprano. As fans of the landmark HBO series will recall, James Gandolfini originated the now-iconic role, but sadly passed away in 2013. For Michael, getting to play the role is a unique way to honor his father's legacy.

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"It's a profound honor to continue my dad's legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano," Gandolfini said after he had signed onto the role. "I'm thrilled that I am going to have the opportunity to work with David Chace and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for The Many Saints of Newark."

The Many Saints of Newark is directed by Alan Taylor, with Nicole Lambert and Marcus Viscidi serving as executive producers. It is set to open in theaters (and not on HBO) on September 25, 2020.