Michael Gandolfini, the son of the late James Gandolfini, will play a young Tony Soprano in The Many Saints of Newark, ET has learned. The Sopranos prequel movie, produced by New Line Cinema, will also star Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen and Corey Stoll. Deadline was first to report the news.
"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. "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.”
Gandolfini, who originated the iconic role of anti-hero Tony Soprano on the HBO series, died of a heart attack in 2013. He was just 51 years old. Michael, 19, won the role of a young Tony Soprano after an extensive audition process, ET has learned. He is best known for his breakout role on HBO's The Deuce.
Details of The Many Saints of Newark are being kept under wraps, but several characters from The Sopranos are expected to appear in the film. The movie is set in the era of the Newark riots in the 60s, when the African-Americans and the Italians of the city were at each other's throats, and when among the gangsters of each group, it became especially lethal.
“I feel like he never really knew how good he was,” Edie Falco, who played Gandolfini’s wife on the mob drama, told ET of her late co-star. “He was so humble in the face of how great he was. He never really felt like he knew what he was doing… Such a powerful actor and such a powerful scene partner. But the humility added to just how much fun he was to be with.”