By the end of this week, The Sopranos will officially be 20 years old. Mull that one over for a hot second or two.
So while you’re all now clearly preparing to embark upon yet-another re-watch of the game-changing, universally acclaimed HBO series, a fresh new tidbit of information about the hotly-anticipated prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark, with creator David Chase answering one of the project’s largest lingering questions.
We already know that the prequel film, which is working off a script written by Chase in collaboration with frequent Sopranos alum Lawrence Konner, is set in New Jersey in the 1960s, in the heyday of the DiMeo Crime Family. Specifically, it’ll be set in the long, hot, tumultuous summer of 1967 during the infamous Newark race riots.
We also already know that former Sopranos director Alan Taylor will be returning to helm The Many Saints, and that Face/Off and A Most Violent Year actor Alessandro Nivola would be filling the role of Dickie Moltisanti – father of the OG series’ Christopher.
But thanks to a new interview, we now also know of another character that will feature in the movie: Tony Soprano.
Chase revealed the character made utterly iconic by the late, great James Gandolfini will be appearing in the prequel film in the form of a child, under the wing of his omnipotent and violent father Johnny Boy Soprano. More specifically, it will feature the version of the mafia that Tony often idolised throughout the original series; a time where it was less tracksuits and more actual suits.
It is going to depict when it was good. 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.
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 organised crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements.
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.
Casting for the tiny version of Tony is reportedly underway, meaning the project is likely still a decent distance from rolling cameras.
But either way, this should be enough to keep the whistles of Sopranos fans well and truly whet.