James Gandolfinis Son Agreed to Play Young Tony Soprano Without Ever Watching The Sopranos

Published on 13 Aug 1919
movie news James Gandolfinis Son Agreed to Play Young Tony Soprano Without Ever Watching The Sopranos

There are a lot of high profile movies set for release this fall, but die-hard fans of HBO’s “The Sopranos” are most likely looking forward to fall 2020 because of the release of “The Many Saints of Newark.” The “Sopranos” prequel film, written by series creator David Chase and directed by series veteran Alan Taylor, stars the late James Gandolfini’s son, Michael, in the role of Tony Soprano. The anti-hero made James a star and could do the same for Michael, whose only acting experience prior to the prequel had been a small role on HBO’s “The Deuce.” It was during the making of “The Deuce” that Michael Gandolfini got a call from Chase and heard about the idea to have him play the same character that made his father an icon.

“The funny thing is, before the audition, I had never watched a minute of ‘The Sopranos,’“ Michael recently told Esquire. “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.”

Michael continued, “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.“

Upon his first watch of the Emmy-winning HBO drama series, Michael had two scenes stand out above the rest. Both involved scenes in which Tony has a heartfelt moment with his children. The first is a scene where Tony’s daughter, Meadow Jamie-Lynn Sigler, comes home late one night and Tony tells her, “You know I love you, right?“ Michael said “that [moment] hit hard.” The second scene was a fight between Tony and his son, A.J. Robert Iler, that ended with Tony saying, “I couldn't ask for a better son.“

“I just knew he was talking to me in that scene,“ Michael said.

Michael’s younger iteration of Tony Soprano will be a supporting player in “The Many Saints of Newark.” The prequel centers on Christopher Moltisanti’s father Dickie as he gets caught up in mafia dealings and race wars in 1960s New Jersey. Alessandro Nivola is leading the film as Dickie opposite a cast that includes Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, Ray Liota, and Leslie Odom Jr. “The Main Saints of Newark” is set for release on September 25, 2020.

Source: Indiewire

"THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK" RELATED
Published on 15 Aug 1919
movie news James Gandolfinis Son Agreed to Play Young Tony Soprano Without Ever Watching The Sopranos

Michael Gandolfini admits he had never seen one minute of The Sopranos before being asked to audition for The Many Saints of Newark. Gandolfini is playing the iconic Tony Soprano in the upcoming prequel, the role that his late father, James Gandolfini, made famous. To say there was some pressure surrounding the casting would be a major understatement for the young actor, who had to go back and watch the massively popular HBO series from the start in order to get the mannerisms of his father's acting down.

One would've thought Michael Gandolfini would have been well-versed in the world of The Sopranos. However, Gandolfini was only a child when the show was being made. The 2013 death of James Gandolfini probably adds an extra reason as to why the younger Gandolfini didn't want to go and watch the show. In a recent interview, Gandolfini talked about what the hardest part about making The Many Saints of Newark was. He explains.

"The funny thing is, before the audition, I had never watched a minute of The Sopranos. I was just a kid when he was making it. I would go to the set and ask him what it was about, and he'd say, 'Oh, it's about this guy who's in the mob and kind of goes to therapy.' The hardest part of this whole process was watching the show for the first time."

James Gandolfini never wanted his son to become an actor, according to Michael Gandolfini. Instead, he pushed him into sports and told him if he ever got into the entertainment business he should go into directing. After his father passed away, Michael was bit by the acting bug and used it as a way to cope with his father's death. Taking on the role in The Many Saints of Newark was not an easy decision. Gandolfini has this to say.

"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."

Making The Many Saints of Newark might not have been an easy thing to do for Michael Gandolfini, but it sounds like it was a good experience for the young actor. When asked if he had any favorite Tony Soprano moments from binge watching the series for the first time, he mentioned there were a few that reminded him of his dad. Gandolfini had this to say about those specific Tony Soprano moments.

Related: The Sopranos Prequel Movie Casts James Gandolfini's Son as Young Tony

"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. 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."

David Chase put in the call to Michael Gandolfini to star in The Many Saints of Newark for obvious reasons. Not only does he look a lot like James Gandolfini, it's also a fitting tribute to the late actor by a close friend and his son. From the early buzz surrounding the set, the young Gandolfini knocked it out of the park. The Many Saints of Newark hits theaters on September 25th, 2020. The interview with Michael Gandolfini was originally conducted by Esquire.

Source: Movieweb

"THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK" RELATED
Published on 13 Aug 1919
movie news James Gandolfinis Son Agreed to Play Young Tony Soprano Without Ever Watching The Sopranos

Michael Gandolfini, the son of James Gandolfini, had never seen an episode of The Sopranos until he auditioned to play a younger version of his late father’s iconic character in creator David Chase’s prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark. “The hardest part of this whole process,” referring to his dad’s untimely death in 2013, “was watching the show for the first time,” he told Esquire, adding, “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 all he saw was his father, who tried to convince him to take up anything else — especially sports — rather than become an actor.

The whole profile is worth a read and a look it’s stunning how much Michael resembles James, but the highlight, for me, is when the younger Gandolfini names the two moments from The Sopranos that most resonated with him during his initial viewing. “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,” he said. “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.”

The Many Saints of Newark — which is set in the 1960s in New Jersey shocking! during the Newark riots — comes out September 25, 2020, but before then, you can catch Michael Gandolfini in the new season of The Deuce.

Via Esquire

"THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK" RELATED
Published on 25 Jul 1919
movie news James Gandolfinis Son Agreed to Play Young Tony Soprano Without Ever Watching The Sopranos
em>The Sopranos creator David Chase is returning to New Jersey with The Many Saints of Newark, a feature prequel to his groundbreaking TV series The Sopranos that Alan Taylor is directing for New Line.

With Chase revisiting some of the beloved characters from the Emmy-winning series, including Tony Soprano, played by the late James Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini, would HBO team with Chase to expand the 1960s world he is building in the movie into a TV series?

Shutterstock HBO

“I keep saying ‘never say never’,” HBO President of Programming Casey Bloys told Deadline at TCA. “There are no plans, there is no discussions about it, but Michael is a really good actor, we had him on The Deuce. There is nothing on the table at the moment but I will stay open.”

Michael Gandofini, who plays the future New Jersey organized crime family boss in The Many Saints of Newark, had been gaining experience and had a breakout turn on the HBO period drama series The Deuce.

The ensemble drama The Many Saints of Newark focuses on Dickie Moltisanti Alessandro Nivola, a mentor to young Tony as his own father, Johnny Boy, was grooming his son on a pathway to organized crime prominence. There are expected to be call-backs and shout-outs to numerous other series characters in the film, which is set in the earlier time period.

em>The Sopranos was HBO’s first signature drama, a mega ratings and critical hit which drew massive ratings during its six-season run and earned a slew of awards, including two best drama series Emmys.

em>Anthony D’Alessandro contributed to this report. 

Source: deadline.com

"THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK" RELATED
Published on 24 Jun 1919
movie news James Gandolfinis Son Agreed to Play Young Tony Soprano Without Ever Watching The Sopranos
Michelle Yeoh is in talks to co-star in 'Gold Mountain,' which tells the story of a canny widow and young girl from China who team up to con unsuspecting men.

Prolific film and television director Alan Taylor has signed on to helm Gold Mountain, a period adventure film set in 1850s San Francisco during the booming, violent times of the Gold Rush.

Planned as a U.S.-China co-production, the fill tells the story of a canny widow and the girl she transports from China, who together overcome innate distrust to form a bond while running a marriage con on unsuspecting men.

Michelle Yeoh is in talks to star and produce, alongside Taylor, Jane Wu and Brandan Dennehy. Taylor first mentioned the project publicly during a panel discussion held at the Shanghai International Film Festival. 

"The film will touch on the epic history shared between the U.S. and China," Taylor told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement on Monday. "But at its heart, it is an intimate human story about two women contending with forces beyond their control. It explores how the confrontation between cultures can lead to violence but also to tender and deep connections."

The film's script is being written by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, an internationally staged female playwright who was born in the U.S. and raised in Okinawa, Taipei and Beijing.

"I'm very excited to bring this shared history between the U.S. and China to the big screen so that more audiences can learn how Chinese immigrants impacted that era," said Jane Wu, producer of the project. Wu said she grew up inspired by stories about Chinese gold miners and the workers who helped construct the transcontinental railway.

Taylor and Wu said a long search through historical records about the Gold Rush led them to this "special story of two individuals caught up in a world-transforming historical time."

"One of the challenges in making a film for both the East and the West is finding a story that transcends cultures,“ added Dennehy. "We are excited to be telling a story that organically is both a slice of American history and a slice of Chinese history."

Gold Mountain is in development with Starlight Culture Entertainment Group, the Hong Kong and Beverly Hills based company that has first-look deals with Taylor and several other high-profile Hollywood directors, such as Roland Emmerich, James Wan and Jon M. Chu. The company was a co-investor in Crazy Rich Asians last year, and also has a stake in Emmerich's upcoming WWII action film, Midway. Starlight signed a partnership agreement last week with Crazy Rich Asians star Henry Golding.

Taylor is best known for his work as a director on some of television's most acclaimed drama series. He won an Emmy in 2007 for one of the episodes he directed for The Sopranos, and he was later nominated for work on Mad Men and Game of Thrones. He also has helmed big-budget action films, such as Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys.

His next film release as a director is a title that bridges both sides of his career: The big-screen Sopranoes prequel The Many Saints of Newark. Written by Sopranos creator David Chase, the film is scheduled to be released on Sept. 25, 2020, by Warner Bros.

Taylor is repped by UTA.

 

Source: Hollywood Reporter

"THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK" RELATED
Published on 18 Jun 1919
movie news James Gandolfinis Son Agreed to Play Young Tony Soprano Without Ever Watching The Sopranos

The Many Saints of Newark has officially wrapped production in New Jersey. Cast members Michael Gandolfini, Alessandro Nivola, and Michela De Rossi made the announcement on social media by sharing behind-the-scenes video and images. Gandolfini is playing the young Tony Soprano in the Sopranos prequel, which is a role his late father, James Gandolfini, made famous. Series creator David Chase co-wrote the upcoming movie and was on the set quite a bit over the last few weeks.

Alessandro Nivola posted a picture of the prequel's logo and said, "That's a wrap. The Many Saints of Newark #TheSopranos." The "R" in Newark is a gun and the font looks very much like it is in the same vein as The Sopranos. Nivola had been spotted quite frequently over the past few months in Newark in both day and night shoots. Michael Gandolfini posted a video of Nivola along with a heartfelt message. He had this to say.

"This man inspires me so much. Sandro I could have never done this without you. You are part of my family now and forever. Thank you for holding me and all of us up. Congratulations. Love you"

Alessandro Nivola responded to Michael Gandolfini's post by saying, "You're my blood brother now - and don't ever say otherwise or 'God could hear you'! Uncle Dickie." In The Many Saints of Newark, Nivola plays Dickie Moltisanti, the father of The Sopranos character Christopher Moltisanti and the cousin of Carmela Soprano, Tony Soprano's future wife. The character was a big inspiration for the young Tony Soprano and that relationship is expected to be featured quite heavily in the prequel.

Jon Bernthal also stars in The Many Saints of Newark and recently had some kind words to say about working with Michael Gandolfini. Bernthal says, "I love Mike, I love him... I'm really honored to sort of be a part of his journey." Bernthal also noted that the young Gandolfini is "approaching it with the highest level of integrity in honoring the show, in honoring his father." Bernthal explains.

"I think he's a beautiful artist that's enormously talented and I think folks are going to-- he did this the right way. He really, really worked hard and I think people are really going to dig what he did. He's going to be a friend of mine for life. I really loved getting to know him."

Set photographer Barry Wetcher may have summed up The Many Saints of Newark in the best possible way, which will undoubtedly get some fans excited. He says, "If you're a Sopranos fan you're gonna love this, if you're not you're gonna become one." It seems like David Chase and crew were intent on making something that can stand next to the iconic series, which is not an easy task. With that being said, they all seem pretty confident that they have accomplished their collective goal. You can check out some of the behind-the-scenes shots and video from The Many Saints of Newark below, starting with Michael Gandolfini's Instagram account.

Related: The Sopranos Prequel Movie Brings in Corey Stoll & Billy Magnussen

Source: Movieweb

movie news James Gandolfinis Son Agreed to Play Young Tony Soprano Without Ever Watching The Sopranos
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