The upcoming The Sopranos prequel film is keeping it in the family when it comes to casting for the role of young Tony Soprano in The Many Saints of Newark. James Gandolfini's son, Michael Gandolfini, is set to take on the role.
According to Deadline, the younger Gandolfini snagged the role after filmmakers carried out an extensive audition process with Gandolfini ultimately being cast thanks to a combination of his screen presence, mastery of Tony Soprano's mannerisms, and his resemblance to his father -- and thus his resemblance to Tony.
James Gandolfini played the iconic mobster for the full run of the HBO series, 1999 through 2007. He sadly passed away in 2013 after a heart attack. For his son, the opportunity to play Tony Soprano is a "profound honor".
"It's a profound honor to continue my dad's legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano," Gandolfini told Deadline. "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."
Written by The Sopranos creator David Chase and writer Lawrence Konner, the forthcoming prequel will follow the wave of riots plaguing Newark in the 1960s. At the time, Newark was the stage for a number of savage conflicts between Italian-Americans and African-Americans. The film's story will focus on Dickie Moltisani (Alessandro Nivola), a mentor to young Tony. Vera Farmiga, Billy Magnussen, Corey Stoll, and The Punisher's Jon Bernthal are also set to star.
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.
The Many Saints of Newark, directed by Alan Taylor, with Nicole Lambert and Marcus Viscidi serving as executive producers. A release date for the film has not yet been given.
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