Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark now has a release date

More than 10 years after The Sopranos ended its six-season run, the drama remains one of HBO’s most popular series of all time — so much so, in fact, that a prequel movie is now in the works. The film, The Many Saints of Newark, will show what life was like for crime boss Tony Soprano when he was still a teenager, and its still-growing cast list is honoring a few tried and true Sopranos traditions.

Now scheduled to hit theaters September 25, 2020, the film has assembled an impressive cast of fresh faces and familiar actors to tell the story of Tony Soprano’s rise to power.

The cast

Veteran actor Ray Liotta, who is best known for his turn as mobster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s seminal gangster flick Goodfellas, joined The Many Saints of Newark in late February in an unspecified role, Deadline reports.

Ray Liotta in Shades of Blue

Poaching Goodfellas actors is par for the course as far as The Sopranos is concerned. Lorraine Bracco, who co-starred in Goodfellas as Hill’s wife, Karen, played Tony Soprano’s psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi on the HBO series. Michael Imperioli, who played Christopher Moltisanti on The Sopranos, had a brief but memorable role in Goodfellas as did Frank “Phil Leotardo” Vincent, Paulie Walnuts actor Tony Sirico, and more than 20 others.

Liotta never appeared on The Sopranos, although not for a lack of trying: Liotta was originally approached to play Tony’s rival, Ralphie Cifaretto, but the part ultimately went to character actor Joe Pantoliano instead.

True to its mobster roots, other The Many Saints of Newark cast members are keeping things all in the family. Michael Gandolfini, the 19-year-old son of The Sopranos star James Gandolfini, will take over the role that earned his dad three Primetime Emmys. “It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini told Deadline, which broke the news. “I’m thrilled that I’m going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for The Many Saints of Newark.” James Gandolfini, who played Tony Soprano for six seasons, died in 2013.

Image of Michael Gandolfini from ‘The Deuce’

The younger Gandolfini, who recently appeared on the HBO drama The Deuce, didn’t win the role on his name alone. According to Deadline, the young actor was discovered as part of an exhaustive audition process. Gandolfini won over producers, including Sopranos creator David Chase, with his “mastery of Tony’s mannerisms,” his resemblance to his late father, and his innate understanding of Tony’s character.

Gandolfini isn’t the only familiar name in The Many Saints of Newark‘s cast. In November 2018, Weightless and Disobedience actor Alessandro Nivola was cast in the role of Dickey Moltisanti, Tony’s uncle and mentor and father to Imperioli’s Christopher. Moltisanti never appeared in the series, as he was killed before the show’s timeline began, but he was referenced repeatedly as one of the primary figures who assisted Tony Soprano’s rise to power.

It was also reported this month that Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga (Up in the AirThe Conjuring) reportedly joined the project, along with The Punisher and The Walking Dead actor Jon Bernthal. The two actors’ roles in The Many Saints of Newark remain a mystery at this point.

Behind the camera

Chase teamed up with one of the show’s former writers, Lawrence Konner, to pen the script for The Many Saints of Newark. Together, the two Sopranos vets have written a story that takes place in Newark, New Jersey, during the 1960s, with Game of Thrones and Thor: The Dark World director Alan Taylor behind the camera.

“The thing that interested me most was Tony’s boyhood. I was interested in exploring that,” Chase told Deadline during an interview commemorating The Sopranos‘ 20th anniversary.

The Many Saints of Newark will see Tony get swept up in the race riots that plagued Newark in July 1967, which ultimately killed 26 people and injured hundreds of others. “The movie will deal with the tensions between the blacks and whites at the time,” Chase said. “I was just interested in the whole Newark riot thing. I started thinking about those events and organized crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements.”

The mob will play a big role in the film, too, although unlike The SopranosThe Many Saints of Newark takes place during the mafia’s glory days. “The mafia was very polished at that time, how they dressed and what they did,” Chase said. “These weren’t guys who wore tracksuits, back then.”

The initial announcement of the prequel movie wasn’t entirely surprising. Chase told Entertainment Weekly in June 2017 that he didn’t want to remake or revive the series, but revealed he wasn’t opposed to revisiting it in some capacity. Specifically, he said he “could conceive of maybe a prequel of The Sopranos.”

With the project gaining traction, The Sopranos creator is set to produce the film, according to Deadline, in addition to co-writing it.

Early unconfirmed reports indicate that The Many Saints of Newark will feature younger versions of Tony Soprano’s parents, Giovanni (aka Johnny Boy) and Livia, who were played by Joseph Siravo and Nancy Marchand in the HBO series. Additionally, Tony’s uncle Corrado Soprano (aka Junior) may also be back; he was portrayed by Dominic Chianese.

“David is a masterful storyteller and we, along with our colleagues at HBO, are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film,” Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said in a statement.

Updated on March 14, 2019: Added the release date for the film.

Movies & TV

You should read these epic sci-fi novels before they become blockbuster films

You can get ahead of the next crop of science-fiction movies coming out of Hollywood by picking up the books that inspired them. We compiled a list of books you can add to your reading list now to get a glimpse of the future.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (March 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

11 Hollywood heavyweights who jumped from the big screen to the small screen

From Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep to James Franco and Mahershala Ali, lots of Hollywood A-list actors with successful film careers are flocking to television projects during the second Golden Age of Television.
Movies & TV

How Laika blends 3D printing and CGI to make mesmerizing stop-motion movies

With each film, Laika Studios pushes the bar higher for stop-motion animation. We explore Laika's latest techniques for its new adventure, Missing Link, which the studio it calls a Kaleidoscopic travelogue that ranks as its most ambitious…
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: Aliens, Avengers: Endgame, Charlie Says, and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's new trailers for Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Charlie Says, Doom: Annihilation, and more.
Deals

How to watch Top Rank Boxing: Conlan vs. Hernandez free on ESPN Plus

St. Patrick’s Day is this Sunday, so it’s fitting that rising Irish star Michael Conlan will face off against Mexican boxer Rueben Garcia Hernandez. If you’re looking for a way to stream the fight, then start your ESPN Plus 7-day…
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Free Solo, Catastrophe season 4, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Free Solo documents an awe-inspiring climb, Catastrophe unveils its final season, and more.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Business

Captain Marvel continues to soar at the box office with huge second weekend

Captain Marvel blasted into theaters in a big way a week ago, and Marvel's first female-led solo superhero movie is showing no signs of slowing down after a big second week in theaters.
Movies & TV

Apple bet big on TV and movie projects. Here’s what we know about them so far

Apple has an ambitious slate of original programming it has been developing in recent years, so will the March 25 event finally reveal when — and where — we will be able to see some of these TV shows and movies?
Movies & TV

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood poster puts Pitt and DiCaprio front and center

Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, uses the infamous 1969 Manson Family murders as a backdrop to tell a story set in bohemian Los Angeles. Here's everything we know so far.