As October 1 gets closer and closer, Warner Bros. is letting us into the world of the young Anthony Soprano. The second trailer for The Many Saints of Newark introduces us to the man ‘who made Tony Soprano,’ his uncle and mentor Dickie Moltisanti, played by Alessandro Nivola. We also get a glimpse of Aldo ‘Hollywood Dick’ Moltisanti, played by Ray Liotta, who has his own wisdom to impart, even if it is from prison. “Pain comes from always wanting things,” Aldo says. “But what do I know? I’m a murderer.”
The Many Saints of Newark also stars Leslie Odom Jr. as Harold McBrayer, Jon Bernthal as Johnny Boy Soprano, Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano, Michael Gandolfini as young The Sopranos, Billy Magnussen as Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gualtieri, Michela De Rossi as Giuseppina Bruno, John Magaro as Silvio Dante, Ray Liotta as Aldo ‘Hollywood Dick’ Moltisanti and Vera Farmiga as Livia Soprano. Alan Taylor, who won an Emmy for his directing work on The Sopranos is returning to direct the prequel from a screenplay by series creator David Chase. The film is executive produced by Richard Brener, Michael Disco, Toby Emmerich, and Marcus Viscidi.
Michael Gandolfini recently opened up about being asked to audition for the role of a young Tony Soprano. His answer to his manager? “F-k that! No way!” Losing his father, James Gandolfini, who died of a heart attack in 2013 while traveling through Italy with his son, then 14, left him incapable of even watching The Sopranos, let alone trying to fill those legendary shoes. “I was so scared,” he admits now. “It just seemed so daunting.”
After deciding to go for it, and landing the part, he says, “You know, I didn’t want to put pressure on myself to walk out of this feeling like I’d grown in terms of my feelings towards my dad. I just wanted to be the best actor I could be, portraying Tony in the way David wanted, scene by scene. I didn’t think about my grief because… well, I would have shit the bed,” he laughs.
Speaking of the differences in his and his father’s performances, he says, “My dad’s character had all this beautiful sensitivity underneath this aggression,” he explains. “This version of him is the reverse. His curiosity and sensitivity comes first. He’s not a gun-wielding gangster. He’s a kid who gets whittled down and pulled in.”
Director Alan Taylor spoke of the echoes of James Gandolfini in Michael, “We all had dinner one night. At one point, [Michael] stood up and said, ‘I want to thank everyone for doing this because it was a chance to say hello to my father… and goodbye again.’ There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.” The Many Saints of Newark will be released in theaters and on HBO Max on October 1.