Michael Gandolfini Talks About What It Was Like Stepping into His Father's Shoes for 'The Many Saints of Newark'

The 22-year-old will play a young Tony Soprano in David Chase's upcoming 'Sopranos' prequel film

BY Kaelen BellPublished Sep 1, 2021

The Sopranos — greatest show ever made, meme-rich cultural text and sorely missed TV institution — is coming back (sorta kinda) in the form of The Many Saints of Newark, the upcoming Alan Taylor-directed prequel film co-written by Sopranos creator David Chase and writer Lawrence Konner. 

It's exciting that the prequel is at least partially in the hands of Chase, and it's even more exciting that Michael GandolfiniJames Gandolfini's son, duh — is playing the young Tony Soprano. 

It's young Gandolfini's first major acting role, and in a recent interview with Empire Magazine, the 22-year-old talked about what it was like stepping into the role previously portrayed by his late father.

"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," Gandolfini said. "I didn't think about my grief because… well, I would have s**t the bed."

Gandolfini also talked about how his portrayal of Soprano would be different from his father's, describing him as "the reverse" of Tony's gruff exterior and sensitive heart. 

"His curiosity and sensitivity comes first," Gandolfini explained. "He's not a gun-wielding gangster. He's a kid who gets whittled down and pulled in."

The Many Saints of Newark also stars Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Alessandro Nivola, and Leslie Odom Jr. The film's first trailer was released in June. It premieres in theatres on October 1.

Revisit the trailer below.

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