James Gandolfini’s son on playing Tony in new Sopranos prequel: “It was really tough”

"It was really hard to watch my dad"

Michael Gandolfini has opened up about playing Tony Soprano in The Many Saints of Newark.

The actor, who will be playing the character originally portrayed by his father in David Chase’s iconic series, said that following in his footsteps was “really hard”.

“It was really hard to watch my dad,” Michael told Vanity Fair. “I recorded four hours of his monologues with Melfi and walked around New York with them constantly, constantly, constantly playing in my ear.”


The young actor said of the casting process: “I had this unspoken trust that David [Chase] wasn’t going to cast me if there was even a shred that this isn’t going to work.”

Explaining which area of the show Newark is set to focus on, he added: “It’s an origin story through the eyes of Dickie Moltisanti, Christopher’s father.

“The Tony Soprano we know has this beautiful vulnerability underneath and this rough exterior, but what if we flip that on its side and you watch a creative, hopeful, kind, curious kid get whittled down and formed into what he has to be?”

Leslie Odom Jr. recently told NME that his character works for Soprano and the DiMeo crime outfit.

The actor also explained how the film would have a “frank approach” to its portrayal of Black characters, adding: “It is still, in a lot of ways, the story of the family that we love – the Sopranos. That is not my story.”


The Many Saints of Newark will be released in September on HBO Max.