David Chase’s upcoming Sopranos sequel The Many Saints Of Newark instantly had a tough proposition on its hands as soon as it was announced: who was going to be good enough to fill the late, great James Gandolfini’s shoes and play a younger version of iconic mobster Tony Soprano?
Well, after “an extensive audition process”, Chase has found his man: Gandolfini’s own son, Michael Gandolfini.
Perhaps this isn’t totally surprising. Hopefully the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in terms of acting ability, and Michael certainly bears an uncanny resemblance to his father, which is a big help for a film that will be living in the shadow of the late Gandolfini’s towering performance.
“It’s a profound honour to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano”, Micheal said in a statement. “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“.
It will be an interesting performance to capture, as Michael will have to recreate that same aura his father excelled at, yet he’ll have to do it in the nascent days before Tony Soprano had become The Tony Soprano. It’s a tough ask, but that’s why you hire a Gandolfini.
Michael’s career is also in its nascent days, having only appeared in five episodes of David Simon‘s The Deuce, but that does link him to HBO, the network that aired The Sopranos and will be producing the prequel.
The film has been co-written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, and will have Alan Taylor directing. The narrative is set during the tumultuous Newark riots of the 1960s and will follow Dickie Moltisanti, father of the original series’ Christopher Moltisanti and mentor to the teenage Tony Soprano.
The film currently doesn’t have a release date, but is expected to arrive in 2020.