David Chase offers up a few more details about the highly anticipated prequel to ‘The Sopranos’ that will be called ‘The Many Saints of Newark’…
For years rumors swirled about a film version of ‘The Sopranos’ — the television show that helped put HBO on the map in regards to original programming while remaining one of the most critically acclaimed series of all time — was coming from creator David Chase.
It wasn’t until last year that an idea finally took hold with Chase finally deciding to return to ‘The Sopranos’ with a prequel movie titled ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ that would be based years before the original series while Tony Soprano was still growing up in New Jersey.
Sadly the idea of a sequel to ‘The Sopranos’ ended after series star James Gandolfini tragically passed away in 2013 but Chase decided to go back to the series with a prequel that would explore Tony Soprano’s teenage years as he began forming his attachments to the mob.
‘The Sopranos’ turns 20 years old in 2019 and Chase recently revealed a few new details about the upcoming prequel that takes place in the 1970’s in the aftermath of the Newark riots when speaking to Deadline:
“I was interested in Newark and life in Newark at that time,” Chase said. “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.
“The movie will deal with the tensions between the blacks and whites at the time, and Tony Soprano will be part of this, but as a kid.”
In ‘The Sopranos’, Tony was brought up by his tough guy father Johnny Boy Soprano while also having a close relationship with his uncle Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano as well. Tony also endured a volatile home life thanks to his demanding mother Livia as well as two sisters, Janice and Barb.
The new film will also introduce Tony’s mentor Dickie Moltisanti (who will be played by Alessandro Nivola) for the first time ever. Dickie loomed large in name only in the original series as he was a mentor to Tony but also a father to Christopher Moltisanti, who ultimately ends up as Tony’s right hand throughout much of the series. Dickie was gunned down when Christopher was still a toddler and he later avenged his father’s death years later by killing the cop who set him up to be murdered.
Now Dickie will come to life on the big screen as part of ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ while helping Tony navigate his teenage years as he learns more and more about the family business.
Chase says ‘The Sopranos’ prequel will deal with a much different version of the New Jersey mafia than the one that existed in the original series. ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ takes place during a time period when the mafia was thriving in New York and by extension was a huge part of the scene in New Jersey as well.
“It is going to depict when it was good,” Chase said about the mafia in this time period. “The mafia was very polished at that time, how they dressed and what they did. Those traditions were followed more loosely in the series. These weren’t guys who wore tracksuits, back then.”
Even as Chase prepares to kick into production later this year, he admits that it was still tough to pull the trigger on a prequel based on ‘The Sopranos’ just because the original series is so beloved. He says that there will probably be those who will hate the idea no matter how good or bad the prequel ends up being and he’s just learned to live with those criticisms.
“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,” Chase said. “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 organized crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements.
“Yeah, I feel they’re out there with shotguns, just waiting.”
Casting for the movie is underway with production on ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ getting started later this year.