[imagesource: HBO Max]
The legend of Tony Soprano was not born, but was made.
At least that is the backbone behind The Sopranos’ prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark.
Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini, and his Italian-American mobster gang graced the screens of HBO for six seasons and many fans still think about the series finale that ended fourteen years ago.
Well, now there’s something else to talk about, with many of the people who made the original series such a success still involved.
Unfortunately, Gandolfini passed in 2013 while on vacation in Rome, but there’s still a very big part of him in this new film.
His son Michael (pictured above), aged 22, plays the young Tony Soprano, who develops into the steely mob boss of the future against a backdrop of the 1967 race riots in Newark, New Jersey, The Guardian reports.
Otherwise, series creator David Chase is also back in the game, producing the New Line Cinema and Warner Bros film in part alongside director Alan Taylor:
The film depicts Young Tony “growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city”, according to the official synopsis.
“Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities – and whose influence over his impressionable nephew will help make the teenager into the all-powerful mob boss we’ll later come to know.”
The stacked cast also includes Vera Farmiga playing Tony’s mother, Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, John Magaro, Michela De Rossi, and Goodfellas star Ray Liotta.
Let’s dive right in:
Chase said in 2019 that he was against the movie for a very long time, but that he was ultimately interested in exploring Tony’s boyhood against the backdrop of racial tension that exploded during his own youth in New Jersey – referring to the 1967 four-day riot that killed 26 people and injured over 700 others as one of 159 race riots during America’s tense “Long Hot Summer of 1967”.
Michael added earlier this year that the film is “an origin story through the eyes of Dickie Moltisanti, Christopher’s father”:
“The Tony Soprano we know has this beautiful vulnerability underneath and this rough exterior, but what if we flip that on its side and you watch a creative, hopeful, kind, curious kid get whittled down and formed into what he has to be?”
He hadn’t seen The Sopranos yet but then watched all six seasons in six weeks and listened to hours of his father’s monologues because he knew Chase wouldn’t cast him if he didn’t know every single detail that made his father such a legend.
The Many Saints of Newark will be in US theatres on October 1, and be available to stream on HBO Max for 31 days afterwards.
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