Sopranos prequel movie starring James Gandolfini's son Michael as young Tony Soprano gets release date

The movie prequel of The Sopranos TV series will be released in September next year.

New Line have confirmed a September 25, 2020 release date and revealed that the title has changed from ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ to the more manageable ‘Newark’.

The movie will tell the origin story of anti-hero Tony Soprano, who was played by the late James Gandolfini in the HBO series which ran from 1999 to 2007.  The young Tony will be played by the actor’s son Michael.

As well as Michael, Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Ray Liotta, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, and John Magaro will star in the film directed by Alan Taylor and written and produced by David Chase and Lawrence Konner.

Set in the 1960s during the Newark riots, which erupted between the African American and Italian American communities in the city, and which led to the deaths of 26 people, the film focuses on Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola).

He was often mentioned in the TV series but was killed before it began.  Dickie is the father of Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) and cousin of Carmela Soprano.

Michael previously described his casting – which was secured after an extensive audition process – as a “profound honour”.

He said: “It’s a profound honour to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano. 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’.”

It was previously revealed there are expected to be call-backs and shout-outs to numerous other characters from the television series.

Chase previously admitted he was “against” creating a spin-off for a “long time”, but became interested in the idea when he explored the 1967 Newark riots which were sparked after two Newark Police officers arrested and beat African American taxi driver John Smith.

“I was interested in Newark and life in Newark at that time. I used to go to down there every Saturday night for dinner with my grandparents. But the thing that interested me most was Tony’s boyhood. I was interested in exploring that,” he said.

“I was against [the movie] for a long time and I’m still very worried about it, but I became interested in Newark, where my parents came from, and where the riots took place. I was living in suburban New Jersey at the time that happened, and my girlfriend was working in downtown Newark. I was just interested in the whole Newark riot thing. I started thinking about those events and organised crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements.”

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