The Sopranos is having a big birthday. The iconic HBO series that spawned our era of prestige television debuted 20 years ago this year, and now a movie prequel to the hit show — from series creator David Chase — is well on its way to the big screen. As of this week, the production now has a cast, a title, and a release date. Here’s everything we know so far.
It’s called The Many Saints of Newark.
The prequel is called The Many Saints of Newark. It was falsely reported this week that the title had changed to just Newark, but Deadline confirmed that these reports were wrong.
It’s about Tony Soprano’s formative years.
Chase told Deadline earlier this year that the movie was inspired by his own Saturday-night dinners in Newark with his grandparents. The plot will reportedly explore Tony Soprano’s early years during the 1960s Newark riots, as well as tensions between African-American and Italian-American gangsters.
The casting is (mostly) under wraps.
Michael Gandolfini will play the role of young Tony Soprano, the character originally portrayed by his late father, James Gandolfini. The younger Gandolfini won the part after going through an “extensive” audition process, but sources told Deadline that his resemblance to his father, his “screen presence,” and his “mastery of Tony’s mannerisms” made him “the standout choice for the role because no one there understood the character better.”
The only other cast member with a confirmed role is Alessandro Nivola, who is playing Dickie Moltisanti, the father of Tony’s lieutenant Christoper Moltisanti (played by Michael Imperioli in the show). The elder Moltisanti never appears in the series — having died before that part of the story began — but he’s expected to have a major part in the prequel because of his role in bringing the crime family to prominence along with Tony and Uncle Junior. The plot of the movie reportedly involves Moltisanti’s role as a mentor to a young Tony as he’s coming up in the ranks of the mob.
New Line has also “acknowledged” that other characters from the original series will appear in the movie, but there are no specific details on who. Also attached to the project are Leslie Odom Jr., Vera Farmiga, Ray Liotta (who was offered a role in the original series, but turned it down), Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, and John Magaro. Odom Jr.’s character is reportedly involved in a conflict with Dickie Moltisanti, but beyond that, the cast’s roles are unknown at this point.
What has David Chase said about the project?
The Sopranos’ creator has been characteristically tight-lipped about the plot of the movie, but he did tell Deadline, “It is going to depict when it was good. The mafia was very polished at that time, how they dressed, and what they did. Those traditions were followed more loosely in the series. These weren’t guys who wore tracksuits, back then.”
The screenplay was written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, and HBO veteran Alan Taylor is directing. New Line purchased the script last year, and Chase and Konner are also producing.
When is The Many Saints of Newark coming out?
It’s set to hit theaters on September 25, 2020.