The Sopranos was a hit HBO tv-show that ran from 1999-2007. The series told the story of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mobster, portrayed by the late James Gandolfini. As of right now, there’s a prequel movie for this excellent series in the works titled The Many Saints of Newark. The movie will feature a younger version of the show’s protagonist, Tony Soprano who will now be portrayed by James Gandolfini’s son, Michael. Michael had previously not ever seen the Sopranos but now that he is taking up his father’s role, he decided to finally watch it and see what he was getting himself into with the role.
Michael Gandolfini’s Reaction
In an interview with Esquire, Gandolfini had this to say about his thoughts and feelings while he watched his father’s iconic role for the first time:
“The hardest part of this whole process was watching the show for the first time. It was an intense process. Because, as an actor, I had to watch this guy who created the role, to look for mannerisms, voice, all those things I would have to echo. But then I’d also be seeing my father. I think what made it so hard was I had to do it alone. I was just sitting alone in my dark apartment, watching my dad all the time. I started having crazy dreams. I had one where I auditioned for David and I looked down at my hands, and they were my dad’s hands.”
This certainly sounds like it would be an overall strange experience for him, being alone at night observing all of the mannerisms of his father as he plays the role of a mobster. It’s not uncommon for actors to watch other actors to try and learn from how they portray their roles. This is especially the case for actors who are taking over a role from another. However, what seems rather unique about this specific situation is the relationship between the old actor and the new. The one who Gandolfini was studying was not an unknown person who he was used to seeing on the TV. The one he was watching was his father who’s been gone for six years. One could only imagine how he might have felt seeing this gangster on the screen while also seeing his dad. Most are probably familiar with the common fear of becoming one’s father and here is young Michael Gandolfini in a way, doing just that. Perhaps that could explain the strange dream where he saw that his hand had become the hand of his dad.
His Favorite Scenes
There were also a couple of specific scenes he pointed out the impact of during the interview. The first one he described like so: “There’s a scene where Meadow comes home late at night, and he’s sitting with a drink, and he’s like, ‘You know I love you, right?’ That hit hard.” It is unclear exactly what it was about this scene that “hit hard” but judging from this comment it clearly had quite the emotional impact on young Gandolfini. There was one more scene he brought up. Here’s what he said about it:
“The other one that crushed me was when he yells at A. J., and he gets a pizza to apologize, and he sits by his son’s bed and says, ‘I couldn’t ask for a better son.’ I just knew he was talking to me in that scene.” Here, we have something quite touching. Young Michael Gandolfini clearly feels loved by his father, James Gandolfini as he prepares to take the baton.
The Many Saints of Newark is being directed by Alan Taylor and currently has a planned release date of September 25th, 2020.
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