The moment fans of HBO’s “The Sopranos” have been waiting for is here as Warner Bros. has premiered the first trailer for “The Many Saints of Newark.” A prequel to the Emmy-winning drama series, “Saints” is set in 1967 against the backdrop of the Newark race riots. The film tracks the relationship between a young Tony Soprano (played in the prequel by Michael Gandolfini, son of James Gandolfini) and his uncle, Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola). Dickie is the father of Christopher Moltisanti, played by Michael Imperioli in “The Sopranos.”
The casting of Michael Gandolfini in the iconic role made famous by his late father has given “The Many Saints of Newark” a surge of buzz over the last year. In an interview with Vanity Fair last year, Gandolfini described “Saints” as “an origin story [of Tony Soprano] through the eyes of Dickie Moltisanti, Christopher’s father.” The actor added, “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?”
Joining Gandolfini and Nivola in the cast are Leslie Odom Jr., Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Michael Gandolfini, Billy Magnussen, John Magaro, Michela De Rossi, Ray Liotta, and Vera Farmiga. The film was written by David Chase, the creator of “The Sopranos” who wrote and directed the series’ pilot episode and series finale, and directed by Alan Taylor, a franchise veteran who directed nine episodes of “The Sopranos” and won the 2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for the sixth season episode “Kennedy and Heidi.”
The official synopsis for the film from Warner Bros: reads: “Young Anthony Soprano 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 idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, 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.”
“David Chase wrote me the role of a lifetime,” Nivola told Rolling Stone last year about the prequel movie. “Far and away, filming this movie was the most exciting thing in my career so far. It’s an incredibly nuanced, violent, funny, charming, scary, morally confused person, and it was an absolute joy to play. What David did was to tell an origin story of Tony Soprano through a character that was dead before the series and that is such a surprising way of going about it. And the late ’60s mob movie is the stuff of dreams.”
“The Many Saints of Newark” is set to open in theaters October 1. The film will be available to stream on HBO Max for 31 days beginning on the same day. Watch the first trailer for the mafia drama below.