The Sopranos are back for one more hit.
The cast of the upcoming prequel film “The Many Saints of Newark” are on the new cover of Rolling Stone, and in the issue the cast and crew talk about bringing back “The Sopranos”.
Creator David Chase reveals the inspiration for the film came from a conversation early in “The Sopranos” run with “Oz” creator Tom Fontana, who suggested a standalone story about Junior and Johnny Boy’s heyday as young mobsters.
“That appealed to me,” Chase recalls, “because my mother comes from Newark at that time. My parents met in Newark at that time. I used to go down to the Italian section of Newark with my mother. Every Saturday she dragged me down there while she shopped for Italian groceries. So that appealed to me, and I never forgot it.”
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The film’s director, Alan Taylor, also admits he was reluctant to join the project because he couldn’t conceive of a “Sopranos” movie without the late James Gandolfini. It was reading an early draft of the script that changed his mind.
“It was the same tone, the same world, the same wonderful dance between violence and the transcendent concerns that used to be part of the show, and the same humour,” Taylor says, adding that amid the new period setting, “the guide for me was always what it was on the show, which is, ‘It’s about the same questions, the same vision of humanity.’ The Sopranos man is still the same. Dickie is torn in the same way that Tony is torn.”
Taylor also talks about shooting the film’s riot scenes before watching the protests that unfolded int he wake of George Floyd’s murder.
“As events started to go in that direction, there was a troubled feeling of ‘Oh, my god, there it is again,’” he says. “And an anxiety in me of ‘Have we ventured into territory that’s too loaded now?’ But as we finished the movie, I spoke to Leslie [Odom Jr.] about it, and I think we did feel good that, just by chance, a thing we were wrestling with was reasserted, and then the need to wrestle with it was reasserted. So we started thinking, ‘OK, this movie is actually timely in a way that we hadn’t expected, and that’s necessary and useful.’ David doesn’t give any easy answers to this stuff, but he shines a light on it.”
As for whether the new film is a harbinger of more “Sopranos” films to come, Chase says other writers have expressed interest, “and if one of those guys was going to do it, I might do it with him.”
But, he adds, “that’s really not high on my list of what to do. I’m not getting any younger. I want to make another movie, hopefully, and it would not be this one.”
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John Magaro, who plays young Silvio Dante in the film, is hopeful, though, that another film might happen.
“If we’re lucky,” he says, “maybe we’ll get to tell more of the story. I think it would be really interesting to see more of Tony’s journey.”
Very Farmiga who plays Livia Soprano, adds, “I hope there’s a ‘Many Saints of Newark 2’. Honestly, it would be my heart’s delight if they would just do a prequel series. That would be my absolute dream. I’m not ready to let this character go. I feel it’s just the beginning.”