The Sopranos prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark, has found its Tony! Actor Michael Gandolfini is set to take on his father's iconic role as Tony Soprano in the forthcoming prequel.
Last week actors Corey Stoll and Billy Magnussen boarded the project, suggesting the sequel would continue to add to its ever-growing cast. And now, The Many Saints of Newark has set the younger Gandolfini to portray the future crime boss, Tony Soprano, in the film. Gandolfini, of course, is taking on a role first held by his father, James Gandolfini, who sadly passed away back in 2013.
"It’s a profound honor to continue my dad's legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano," Gandolfini said in a statement regarding his casting. "I'm thrilled that I’m going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for The Many Saints of Newark."
Despite being the son of the late Gandolfini, the young actor still had to beat out other contenders following an extensive casting process to find someone who truly envisioned the character -- something Gandolfini managed to do with ease. While his resemblance to his father did ultimately help him land the role, it's reported his mannerisms and knowledge of the character also helped him to stand out among the others under consideration.
Gandolfini joins an impressive cast that already consists of Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen and Corey Stoll. The film will focus on Dickie Moltisanti (Nivola), a mentor to young Tony as his own father, Johnny Boy, was grooming his son on a pathway to organized crime prominence. The film is also expected to be set during the Newark riots in the '60s which resulted in the deaths of 26 people and countless others injured.
Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor will direct The Many Saints of Newark from a script by series creator David Chase and producer Lawrence Konner. This marks the second HBO series to get the film treatment, as production recently kicked off on the long-awaited Deadwood feature which will finally be released this spring. A release date has not yet been announced for The Many Saints of Newark.