When “The Many Saints of Newark” arrived last autumn, the much-hyped “Sopranos” movie prequel allowed audiences the chance to see not only the early years of some of the beloved HBO series’ many iconic characters (like Michael Gandolfini stepping in as a younger version of his own father’s Tony Soprano), but to meet an array of other players who round out creator David Chase’s vision of mob-ruled New Jersey.
That included “Hamilton” and “One Night in Miami” star Leslie Odom Jr. as Harold McBrayer, an ambitious associate of the DiMeo crime family who rises to prominence over the course of the film. Taylor’s film ends with a number of open scenarios, including what’s next for Harold, as we see him move into a white neighborhood, signaling that his crime operation is a success and that he’s moving up the mob ladder.
Sounds like a thrilling jumping-off point for another entry in the “Sopranos” universe, and Odom himself is game for continuing Harold’s story, as long as Chase is part of it.
During a recent interview with IndieWire in support of his turn in Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” (in select theaters next week, with a Netflix streaming release to follow on December 23, and more from that interview to come this week), Odom was asked about his interest in seeing where Harold’s story might take him next in the “Sopranos” universe. The actor said with a laugh, “Oh, wow. Are you kidding me?”
He continued, “David Chase, that’s a phone call, like, if he [texts], ‘Hey, Leslie, will you…,’ and those three blue dots show up? Yes [is] the answer. He’s getting a yes before [he even asks]. Nobody writes like David, that’s a singular talent in the business. And not to mention [director] Alan Taylor, please. The pilot of ‘Interview with the Vampire’ was incredible, that’s Alan directing that.”
He added, “They taught me so much and I’m so grateful for every single job behind me. ‘Many Saints’ taught me so much, and I was able to bring that to ‘One Night in Miami.’ I was able to bring everything I learned with Regina [King] to Rian in Greece on [‘Glass Onion’], and now I’m taking all those wonderful lessons. … When I graduated college, I wanted to get into a repertory theater company somewhere in the country where I get to play a couple of different parts each year. And, if you’re lucky enough, sometimes you wake up in Hollywood after a couple of decades and you’re like, ‘Oh, this is kind of that repertory company in a weird way.'”
©Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection
In November of last year, Chase told The Hollywood Reporter that he is open to doing “one more movie” and has an “idea for that that I’d like to do. But I don’t think they want that.” While “Many Saints” was not a box office hit, it was widely viewed as a smash for HBO Max, pulling in strong streaming numbers for the streamer (last October, Deadline reported that over one million households streamed the film during its first weekend of availability).
Understandably, Chase revealed that under his five-year WarnerMedia deal, HBO executives were looking for him to create “another series of ‘Sopranos’ from the time the movie ends until the time the series begins.” That potential series would bridge the gap between the events of “Many Saints,” set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, to when “The Sopranos” began in 1998. Sounds like a pretty Harold-centric idea, right?
Still, HBO programming president Casey Bloys said earlier this year that Chase most likely will not revisit “The Sopranos” in TV form. “I don’t think David has any interest in revisiting ‘The Sopranos.’ And I would agree with him,” Bloys told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a perfect series that I don’t think needs revisiting. …I don’t know where they left off, whether there were going to be more movies or what, so to your larger question about a ‘Sopranos’ series, there’s nothing there. And with ‘The Many Saints,’ there hadn’t been any conversations about it.”
But if Chase decides to change that, it seems as if Odom should be his first call.