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Son Of James Gandolfini To Play Young Tony Soprano In New Movie

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Call it spooky. Call it genius. The actor tapped to play a young version of Tony Soprano in David Chases’s new movie, The Many Saints of Newark, is Michael Gandolfini, son of— you guessed it, James Gandolfini.

A Prequel To The Sopranos

Set in the 1960s, the film is centered around the riots in Newark, New Jersey. During that period, gangster groups of both of Italian-Americans and African-Americans were locked into a bitter and sometimes deadly rivalry.

Actor Alessandro Nivola (Jurassic Park) will be portraying Dickey Moltisanti, Tony’s uncle, and Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring), Billy Magnussen (Aladdin), Jon Bernthal (The Punisher) and Corey Stoll (Ant-Man) round out the cast. David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, is spearheading the production along with fellow Sopranos alum, writer Lawrence Konner.

An Impressive Audition

Although Michael Gandolfini has gotten his feet wet in the world of acting— he had a small part in HBO’s The Deuce as character, Joey Dwyer— he was by no means a shoo-in.

Gandolfini participated in an extensive audition process and won the part over several talented actors up for the role. In the end, a casting insider explained that his, “screen presence, mastery of Tony’s mannerisms, coupled with his resemblance to the elder Gandolfini made him the standout choice for the role because no one there understood the character better.”

Big Shoes To Fill

James Gandolfini died of a heart attack in 2013 at the age of 51. He portrayed Tony Soprano, a complex character beloved to fans of The Sopranos, which recently celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the series debut.

Son Michael Gandolfini is grateful for the chance to connect with his father’s famous role. In a statement, he said, “It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano. 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.”

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