The Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark has been pushed from its planned September 25 release date as studio Warner Bros. shifts its theatrical slate amid the COVID-19 crisis. After making changes to the release dates of DC Comics superhero movies The Flash and Shazam! 2, as well as delaying The Batman by several months, Warner Bros. has delayed The Many Saints of Newark until March, where the crime drama will open in theaters opposite family-friendly Disney animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon. Warner Bros. has now set Newark for March 12, 2021.
A prequel to the hit HBO series created by David Chase, The Many Saints of Newark is directed by Sopranos and Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor, whose feature film credits include Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys. Chase penned the script with Lawrence Konner (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire).
Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead, Marvel's The Punisher) stars as Giovanni Francis "Johnny Boy" Soprano, the father of crime boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), originally portrayed by Joseph Siravo in six episodes of the HBO drama. Starring as Giovanni's wife and Tony's mother, Livia Soprano, is Vera Farmiga (The Departed, The Conjuring) in a role originally played by Nancy Marchand.
The late Gandolfini's son, Michael Gandolfini, will portray a younger version of his father's character. Other stars include Alessandro Nivola (A Most Violent Year) as Dickie Moltisanti, father of DiMeo crime family member Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) in The Sopranos, and Corey Stoll (Ant-Man), Billy Magnussen (No Time to Die), John Magaro (The Umbrella Academy), Leslie Odom Jr. (Murder on the Orient Express), Joey Diaz (Spider-Man 2) and Ray Liotta (Goodfellas).
"I was interested in Newark and life in Newark at that time," Chase said of Newark in a 2019 interview. "I used to go to down there every Saturday night for dinner with my grandparents. But the thing that interested me most was Tony's boyhood. I was interested in exploring that." The prequel film will "deal with the tensions between the blacks and whites at the time, and Tony Soprano will be part of this, but as a kid."
Chase was against a movie "for a long time" and is "still very worried about it," he admitted, adding, "but I became interested in Newark, where my parents came from, and where the riots took place. I was living in suburban New Jersey at the time that happened, and my girlfriend was working in downtown Newark. I was just interested in the whole Newark riot thing. I started thinking about those events and organized crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements."
The Many Saints of Newark opens March 12, 2021.
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images