The wait is (almost) over, ladies and gentlemen. After half a decade of rumours, industry whispers, speculation, and stolen glimpses captured via set photos… The Many Saints Of Newark trailer has officially arrived. Fans of HBO‘s culture-defining crime drama The Sopranos will be relieved to finally preview what the highly-anticipated prequel has in store; while readers of BH will seek comfort in the fact our publication may soon cease the seemingly endless production of articles about The Sopranos prequel.
The Many Saints of Newark serves an origin story of Tony Soprano, told through the perspective of his uncle Dickie Moltisanti (portrayed by Alessandro Nivola) – father of Christopher Moltisanti (formerly portrayed by Michael Imperioli). Based on the footage provided so far, it appears as though Dickie’s relationship with Tony greatly informs his future character; adding an extra dimension to the latter’s relationship with the former’s son.
Set during the 1967 Newark riots – a time dubbed “The Long Hot Summer of 1967” fraught with racial tensions between the African-Americans and Italians of Newark – the prequel will explore how a young, underachieving kid with a high IQ and talent for leadership became the Tony Soprano revered and feared by countless in the original series; as well as illustrate how the Soprano crew rose to power.
In an interesting turn of events, young Tony Soprano will be brought to life by none other than James Gandolfini’s own son: Michael Gandolfini. Bearing a remarkable resemblance to the man behind the original crime boss – because… genetics – as well as the weighty expectation of an entire fandom/cultural legacy/a film studio, the 21-year-old rising dramatic talent wasn’t exactly handed a free pass because of his heritage, either.
Auditioning for the gig on his back foot due to having never experienced a single episode of The Sopranos as a child, Gandolfini had to actually work for it – recording a staggering four hours of his father’s dialogue in preparation, at one stage. As he revealed to Vanity Fair, there was an “unspoken trust” that series creator, screenwriter, and executive producer David Chase would not cast him if there was “even a shred” of doubt regarding whether he was the right fit.
“The thing that was most exciting – making the movie with Michael Gandolfini, James Gandolfini’s son,” Jon Bernthal – who portrays Giovanni “Johnny Boy” Soprano (father of Tony Soprano) – told BH exclusively during a recent interview promoting Taylor Sheridan’s Those Who Wish Me Dead.
“It’s beautiful that they’ve kept it in the family to play Tony Soprano. I think Michael is an unbelievable talent. He has a beautiful heart, he went about this in such a beautiful way. Being able to play his dad and go on this journey with him – of him getting closer to his father – is something I’m proud to be a part of. I think he’s going to do great.”
Watch The Many Saints Of Newark trailer above.
“I’ve known Michael since he was a baby – he was born shortly after my son and he’s a great kid,” original series star Michael Imperioli told BH exclusively during another interview late last year.
“I haven’t seen him act, but I know David [Chase] made sure he auditioned for the role of Tony, and David worked to make sure he was right. He wanted the right fit, it wasn’t a case of simply getting the gig because he is Jim’s son.”
Here’s the more official synopsis for The Many Saints Of Newark, according to Warner Bros.:
Young Anthony Soprano (portrayed by Michael Gandolfini) is 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. Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolises, Dickie Moltisanti (portrayed by 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: Tony Soprano.
Joining the Michael Gandolfini, Alessandro Nivola, and Jon Bernthal will be Vera Farmiga as mother Livia Soprano, Corey Stoll as uncle Junior Soprano, John Magaro as Silvio Dante, Billy Magnussen as Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri, as well as genre veteran Ray Liotta, Lesli Odom Jr., and even Joey “Coco” Diaz for some reason. The screenplay has been written by series creator David Chase and helmed by series director Alan Taylor (The West Wing, Deadwood, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones).
The Many Saints Of Newark will hit Aussie cinemas on September 23rd (more than a week before the US) – check out the first trailer above.