"When I was a kid, guys like me were brought up to follow codes," says the late James Gandolfini. The line is from the actor's most iconic role, as mob boss Tony Soprano on the hit HBO drama The Sopranos.
Onscreen, we see a younger version of Tony, just getting his start in Newark, New Jersey. He has the look, voice and quick temper of the Sopranos don, pitch-perfect because the prequel film stars Gandolfini's real-life son, Michael, as the up-and-coming mobster.
Initially reticent to join the family business, young "Antonio" is first talked into moving some stolen speakers by his uncle and mentor, Dickie Moltisanti (aka, father to The Sopranos' Christopher Moltisanti), played by Alessandro Nivola.
"Look, you take the speakers, right? At the same time, you say to yourself, 'This is the last time I'm ever gonna steal something,'" Dickie persuades Tony. "It's that simple."
The trailer also gives fans a look at some of the other major players in the Sopranos universe, including Billy Magnussen as a young Paulie Walnuts, Jon Bernthal as Giovanni "Johnny Boy" Soprano, and Vera Farmiga as Tony's mother, Livia, who gets a lecture at school about how her underachieving son is actually a natural-born leader.
The film, written by Sopranos creator David Chase and directed by Alan Taylor, also stars Leslie Odom Jr., Ray Liotta, Corey Stoll, John Magaro and more.
It was announced in January 2019 that Michael Gandolfini had earned the part of young Tony in the movie, which is set during the Newark riots of 1967. His father, James, who won three Emmys for his portrayal of the crime godfather, died of a heart attack at age 51 in 2013.
"It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano," Michael said in a statement obtained by ET at the time, following news of his casting. "I'm thrilled that I am going to have the opportunity to work with [Sopranos creator] David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for The Many Saints of Newark."
Michael was born in 1999, the year that TheSopranos first debuted on HBO. In a 2019 interview with Esquire, he opened up about how emotional it was to watch the show after his father died.
"The funny thing is, before the audition, I had never watched a minute of The Sopranos. I was just a kid when he was making it," he told the magazine. "I would go to the set and ask him what it was about, and he'd say, 'Oh, it's about this guy who's in the mob and kind of goes to therapy.' The hardest part of this whole process was watching the show for the first time."
"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," he continued. "But then I'd also be seeing my father. I think what made it so hard was I had to do it alone. I was just sitting alone in my dark apartment, watching my dad all the time."
The Many Saints of Newark premieres Oct. 1 in theaters and on HBO Max.