David Chase’s upcoming “Sopranos” prequel movie “The Many Saints of Newark” is one of the most anticipated films of the fall movie season, and it might not be the last time the creator revisits his iconic franchise. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “Many Saints” director and “The Sopranos” filmmaking veteran Alan Taylor revealed that Chase has already hinted to him about a plan to continue expanding “The Sopranos” franchise beyond “Many Saints.”
“David said something that sounded like he was talking about [making more content],” Chase said about the future of “The Sopranos” franchise. “I said, ‘Wait wait, are you talking about a sequel?’ And he said, ‘Maybe.’”
“Many Saints of Newark” is set in 1967 against the backdrop of the Newark, New Jersey 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.” Taylor told THR that was one of the biggest challenges in directing “Many Saints” was making sure Michael Gandolfini did not act too identical to his late father James.
“We were reminding each other that [Tony’s] still a kid, he hasn’t hardened up yet,” Taylor said. “Sometimes a line might come out like he was already that gangster, and we had to back off to the less-formed version.”
Taylor directed episodes of “The Sopranos” in nearly every season of the HBO series, and he won the 2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for the sixth season episode “Kennedy and Heidi.” Overall, Taylor directed nine of the 86 episodes of “The Sopranos.” Many people expected Chase to hire a veteran of the series to direct “Many Saints,” be it Taylor or Tim Van Patten, Allen Coulter, David Nutter, and more. The “Sopranos” creator sent an email to THR explaining why he ultimately landed on Taylor.
“In tone meetings, which were always terrible for the director, the directors had to tell us scene by scene, line by line, what they were planning to do,” Chase said. “They all hated it. Had I been directing, I would have hated it. Alan, I think, particularly disliked it, and he would cavil about what he was planning to do when I didn’t respond favorably. He would go off and do some of what he had planned [anyway]. I [rewatched the episodes] after the series ended, years later, and thought, ‘Wow, that’s a great episode.’ He makes wonderful pictures.”
“The Many Saints of Newark” will open in theaters October 1. It will be available to stream on HBO Max starting the same day.