Although James Gandolfini is sadly no longer with us, it seems that Tony Soprano will still have a role to play in THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK, the upcoming prequel movie to HBO’s The Sopranos. Scripted by series creator David Chase and Lawrence Konner and directed by Alan Taylor (Game of Thrones), THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK will be set in the era of the Newark riots in the 60s. It was a time when the African-Americans and the Italians of Newark were at each other’s throats, and among the gangsters of each group, those conflicts became especially lethal.
David Chase recently spoke with Deadline about the HBO series and dropped a few new details about the prequel movie, including that a young Tony Soprano will be featured. “I was interested in Newark and life in Newark at that time. I used to go to down there every Saturday night for dinner with my grandparents. But the thing that interested me most was Tony’s boyhood. I was interested in exploring that,” Chase said. “The movie will deal with the tensions between the blacks and whites at the time, and Tony Soprano will be part of this, but as a kid.” The film will certainly have some big shoes to fill, and David Chase still doesn’t seem convinced that it’s the right move.
I was against [the movie] for a long time and I’m still very worried about it, but I became interested in Newark, where my parents came from, and where the riots took place. I was living in suburban New Jersey at the time that happened, and my girlfriend was working in downtown Newark. I was just interested in the whole Newark riot thing. I started thinking about those events and organized crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements.
With its 1960s setting, THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK will show us the “good ‘ol days” of the crime family. “It is going to depict when it was good,” Chase said. “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.” JURASSIC PARK III’s Alessandro Nivola is slated to play Dickey Moltisanti, the uncle of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and father of Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli). The character was deceased by the time the TV series began, but was mentioned as a key factor in transforming the small gang into the New Jersey crime family which we saw in The Sopranos. Casting is still underway with production set to kick off later this year.