23 Sep 2021, 13:19

Tony Soprano returns in prequel film 'The Many Saints of Newark'

  NEW YORK, Sept 23, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Fourteen years after the last episode
of the cult television series "The Sopranos," a film retracing the early
years of future mob boss Tony Soprano premiered Wednesday in New York.

   Series creator David Chase, co-writer of the prequel "The Many Saints of
Newark," introduced the cast at the historic Beacon Theatre, which was
transformed back into a giant cinema for the occasion.

   The applause redoubled for Michael Gandolfini, who stepped into the shoes
of his late father to play the younger version of Tony Soprano, a role for
which James Gandolfini won three Emmys with his portrayal of the violent head
of a mafia clan who was also a troubled family man.

   Broadcast between 1999 and 2007 on the US cable network HBO, "The
Sopranos" marked the beginning of a golden age for television series with its
dark humor and complex characters and made a star of James Gandolfini, who
died in 2013 at the age of 51.

   "We miss your father!," shouted one member of the audience.

   In the film, 22-year-old Michael Gandolfini plays a teenage Tony Soprano
in 1960s New Jersey.

   "I didn't know if Michael really wanted to (do it), like whether it would
be too much," director Alan Taylor told AFP on the sidelines of the screening
as part of the Tribeca film festival.

   "He lost his father and to do this is very emotionally hard. Once he
agreed to do it, and he showed he could with an audition, I just, I never
doubted," Taylor said.

   "The only thing I had to sometimes do was pull him back from being his
dad, too much. He's not this guy yet (in the movie). He's still the younger,
a softer version of his character," added Taylor, who directed several
episodes of the original series, which ran for six seasons and won 21 Emmys
and five Golden Globes.

   While the film traces the youthful years of Tony, a gifted teen but
lacking a moral compass, caught between an absent father and an overly severe
mother, the film centers on a character he venerates, Dickie Moltisanti,
played by Alessandro Nivola.

   The story also explores the tensions between the Italian-American and
African-American communities in then-New Jersey, as well as the Newark riots
of 1967 and police violence.

   But "The Many Saints of Newark" also includes multiple references to the
series to satisfy fans.

   "I've seen the show maybe six or seven times ... (and) this definitely
lived up to the hype," Robert Quinn, 23, said after the screening.

   "I grew up in North Jersey. You definitely hear some people who talk like

   The film is released this week in Britain and will be broadcast in the
United States simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max from October 1.



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