Michael Gandolfini looks exactly what you think a young Tony Soprano would look like. The 19-year old actor is playing the role his father, James Gandolfini, made famous in the upcoming Sopranos prequel movie, which is now titled The Many Saints of Newark. Series creator David Chase is taking fans back in time to where it all started as we see the events that helped to shape a young Tony Soprano into the iconic mob boss everybody knows and loves today.
Michael Gandolfini was recently spotted on the set of The Many Saints of Newark hopping into a vintage car while sporting a brunette wig, denim jacket, necklace, and flares. In other words, he looks perfect for the 1960s timeframe in which the movie takes place. Also spotted on the set was Jon Bernthal, who was seen with Gandolfini and smoking a cigarette. It isn't clear what The Punisher actor's role in the Sopranos prequel is at this time. However, since production is currently underway, we should be getting some more news in the near future about Bernthal's role and story specifics.
The Sopranos ran on HBO from 1999 to 2007 and is often called one of the best shows of all time. James Gandolfini became a star for playing Tony Soprano, winning numerous Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, and Screen Actors Guild Awards in the process. Gandolfini sadly passed away at the age of 51 in 2013. However, his 19-year old son is picking up the character and he looks almost exactly like a young version of his father, which is perfect for Newark. We'll just have to wait and see how his performance stands up next to his father's.
The Many Saints of Newark takes place at a time when the racial tensions were high in Newark, New Jersey, especially between Italian-Americans and African-Americans. The prequel is set against the backdrop of the race riot of 1967, which will be a pivotal moment for the young Tony Soprano. Alessandro Nivola stars in the prequel as Dickie Moltisanti, who mentored the up and coming mobster. Moltisanti is also known for being the father of Michael Imperioli's Christopher character from The Sopranos. David Chase remembers visiting Newark nearly every weekend as a kid and is taking moments from his childhood and placing them into the movie.
Casting the young Tony Soprano character was not easy for the studio to do. They met with a lot of young actors to take on the role, but nobody really had what it took until Michael Gandolfini tried out for the role. Apparently it was Gandolfini's likeness to his father and his ability to mimic his mannerisms which landed him the coveted role. Since production just started, it's going to be a while before we see any official trailers or teasers for The Sopranos prequel movie. The Many Saints of Newark hits theaters on September 25th, 2020 and you can check out pictures of Michael Gandolfini as Tony Soprano below, thanks to The Sun U.K.