Posted on Tuesday, June 29th, 2021 by
The Many Saints of Newarkis here, giving us our first good look at the upcoming Sopranos prequel movie. While Warner Bros. is stressing that the film is for everyone – not just fans of the show – those familiar with the series will no doubt get a thrill spotting new actors playing younger versions of the show’s infamous characters. In our Many Saints of Newark trailer breakdown, we highlight who is playing who in the upcoming film.
Michael Gandolfini as Anthony “Tony” Soprano
In The Many Saints of Newark, Michael Gandolfini plays the young Tony Soprano. The role was originated by Michale’s father, James Gandolfini, who died in 2013. “The hardest part of this whole process was watching the show for the first time,” Michael Gandolfiniin 2019. “It was an intense process. Because, as an actor, I had to watch this guy who created the role, to look for mannerisms, voice, all those things I would have to echo. But then I’d also be seeing my father.” In The Sopranos, Tony is the De facto Boss of the DiMeo crime family operating out of North Jersey. But in the Many Saints of Newark trailer, he’s still just a kid. We learn that young Tony has a high IQ and dreams of going to college – but the criminal lifestyle of his friends and family is hard to resist.
Vera Farmiga as Livia Soprano
Vera Farmiga of the Conjuring franchise plays Tony’s mother Livia. Nancy Marchand played the character on The Sopranos, where it was revealed that she was highly toxic and abusive, with her overall attitude towards her children resulting in Tony growing up to be severely emotionally and mentally unstable. The Sopranos presented Livia as a primary antagonist to Tony, but Marchand’s death resulted in the character being killed off in season 3. However, even after her death, Livia’s shadow still hovered over Tony’s life. We see glimpses of her toxicity here when she refuses to believe a guidance counselor’s claims that Tony is intelligent. Sopranos creator and Many Saints of Newark writer David Chase has long said that he based the character on his own mother.
Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti
Alessandro Nivola plays Dickie Moltisanti, who is introduced as Tony’s uncle in this trailer. That’s not technically accurate. Family-wise (and we’re talking normal family here, not mafia family), Dickie is the cousin of Carmela Soprano, Tony’s wife – so Tony and Dickie aren’t actually blood-related at all. However, Dickie was a mentor to young Tony, and that’s what we see him as here, too. He’s also clearly a bad influence, drawing Tony into his criminal lifestyle even though Tony seems hesitant. We never got to see Dickie in The Sopranos, as his character died before the events of the show and was never seen in a flashback. But Dickie’s legacy lives on via his son, Christopher (Michael Imperioli), one of the soldiers in the Soprano crew. The adult Tony serves as Christopher’s mentor, just as Christopher’s father once did for him. While the young Tony is all over the Many Saints trailer, Dickie is the film’s main character. “Moltisanti” actually means “Many Saints” in Italian, thus the film’s title.
Jon Bernthal as Giovanni “Johnny Boy” Soprano
Jon Bernthal is Johnny Boy Soprano, Tony’s father. Johnny was a captain in the DiMeo crime family. In The Sopranos, Johnny is dead, but we do see him in flashbacks, where he was played by Joseph Siravo. Tony claims that his mother wore Johnny down to “a little nub.” However, Tony’s memories of his father are idealized, and we learn via flashbacks and other recollections that he was a violent man. The adult Tony claims he was close with his father, but flashbacks in the show paint a much different picture.
Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano
Corey Stoll plays Junior Soprano, Tony’s uncle and Johnny’s brother. In The Sopranos, Junior is the capo in the DiMeo crime family, played by Dominic Chianese. When they were kids, Junior and Johnny dropped out of high school to join the mob. While Junior is said to have treated Tony like his own son after Johnny died, uncle and nephew don’t have the best relationship on The Sopranos. The relationship deteriorates as the show progresses – and so does Junior’s mental state. When we last see Junior on the show, he’s feeble and suffering from Alzheimer’s, living in a state hospital, unable to remember much of his own life.
Billy Magnussen as Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri
Billy Magnussen is Paulie Walnuts, AKA Paul Gualtieri. In The Sopranos, the character is yet another member of Tony’s crew, presented as a somewhat dimwitted ball-buster and played by Tony Sirico. Magnussen may not seem like an obvious choice to play the younger Paulie, but he does seem to have Sirico’s two-finger point down.
The Many Saints of Newark
In The Many Saints of Newark:
“Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city. Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities—and whose influence over his impressionable nephew will help make the teenager into the all-powerful mob boss we’ll later come to know: Tony Soprano.”
The film will be released in theaters in the US on October 1, 2021 and will be available on HBO Max 31 days from the theatrical release.
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