Michael Gandolfini will play a young Tony Soprano in the upcoming film “The Many Saints of Newark,” two decades after his father James first assumed the same role, Deadline is reporting.
The 19-year-old Gandolfini will assume the role in the prequel to the long-running TV show “The Sopranos,” written by Lawrence Konner and series creator David Chase and directed by HBO vet Alan Taylor.
The younger Gandolfini’s most prominent work as an actor came on Season 2 of “The Deuce,” appearing in a handful of episodes. He will join a cast that already includes Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, and Jon Bernthal. Set in 1960s Newark, the film will chart the exploits of Dickie Moltisanti, whose son Christopher (Michael Imperioli) featured prominently in the six-season run of “The Sopranos.”
“The Sopranos” aired its final episode in the summer of 2007, six years before James Gandolfini’s passing. After a decade of talks about a potential revival, “The Many Saints of Newark” was finally confirmed last March. It will be the first TV or film project for Chase since his 2012 film “Not Fade Away,” which featured one of the late Gandolfini’s final roles.
During the celebration around the show’s 20th anniversary, Chase had previously confirmed that young Tony Soprano would be part of the film. “I was interested in Newark and life in Newark at that time,” Chase told Deadline at the time. “I used to go down there every Saturday night for dinner with my grandparents. But the thing that interested me most was Tony’s boyhood. I was interested in exploring that…The movie will deal with the tensions between the blacks and whites at the time, and Tony Soprano will be part of this, but as a kid.”