James Gandolfini’s son reveals how he prepared to play Tony Soprano in upcoming Sopranos prequel

The Sopranos prequel Many Saints of Newark
(Image credit: HBO)

Stepping into the shoes of one of the most iconic TV characters of all time would be a daunting feat for any actor. Yet, that's what Michael Gandolfini, son of the late James Gandolfini, is doing in The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark

The 21-year-old actor will portray a young Tony Soprano in the movie and has now, for the first time, opened up about how he's preparing to portray the New Jersey mob boss previously played by his father.

While The Sopranos may be a go-to boxset for many, for Michael, he watched the show for the first time to get to grips with the character.

"It was really hard to watch my dad," Michael admitted in an interview with Vanity Fair (opens in new tab). "I recorded four hours of his monologues with [Dr] Melfi and walked around New York with them constantly, constantly, constantly playing in my ear."

Michael, who then binged every episode across six weeks (big mood), has even teased the slight differences between his portrayal of Tony Soprano and his father's.

"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?" Michael offered.

The Many Saints of Newark is set to release simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on September 24, 2021. Catch up on the year ahead with our movie release dates guide.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.