Playing Tony Soprano in ‘Many Saints of Newark’ took Michael Gandolfini “a lot of courage”, says James’ widow

"His father would be very proud"

The widow of James Gandolfini has opened up about his son Michael playing Tony Soprano in the upcoming Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark.

The upcoming spin-off movie will follow the younger years of the iconic mob boss from the HBO series, with the epic trailer debuting last month.

Michael’s stepmother Deborah Lin has now admitted that his father “would be very proud” of the work he has done.

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“It was almost surreal to see Michael in the trailer,” she told The New York Post. “I know it took a lot of courage for him to take this role. It was very emotional. But the whole family is just so proud of him. His father would be very proud.”

Many Saints of Newark
Michael Gandolfini as a young Tony Soprano in the new prequel movie ‘Many Saints of Newark’. CREDIT: Alamy

James passed away back in 2013 after suffering a heart attack.

The Many Saints of Newark‘s official synopsis reads: “Young Anthony Soprano is growing up in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city.

“Caught up in the changing times is the uncle he idolizes, Dickie Moltisanti, who struggles to manage both his professional and personal responsibilities—and whose influence over his nephew will help make the impressionable teenager into the all-powerful mob boss we’ll later come to know: Tony Soprano.”

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The film is also set to star Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Leslie Odom Jr, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen, John Magaro.

Speaking to NME earlier this year, John Magaro – who plays the younger Silvio Dante – spoke about the pressures of taking on beloved characters in the film.

“I will say that for those of us who had to play characters who were already established, that was a huge weight on our shoulders,” he said.

“We know how much those characters mean to people. I think everyone who plays those characters really does a service, and I hope the fans don’t feel let down by that.”

The Many Saints of Newark is scheduled to be released in UK cinemas on October 22.

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