New Line Cinema’s prequel to the hit HBO series The Sopranos has found its young Tony Soprano – and they didn’t have to look too far from home. The film, The Many Saints of Newark, would star 19-year-old Michael Gandolfini, son of the late actor James Gandolfini, who originated the role of Tony Soprano in the show. The younger Gandolfini’s credits include HBO’s The Deuce and a small role in the recent Blockbuster hit Ocean’s 8. Bearing a striking resemblance to his father, Michael is eager to take up the mantle James left empty after his tragic passing in 2013 at the age of 51.

“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini said in a statement given to Deadline.

But continuing The Sopranos‘ legacy is a tough task to take on. The show, which aired on HBO from 1999 to 2007, won 21 Emmy awards and five Golden Globe awards throughout its six-season run, and is often lauded as one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Gandolfini’s father ‘s performance as the head of the Soprano mob family was highly acclaimed, and he went on to win three Emmy awards, three SAG awards, and one Golden Globe award.

But the creators and producers of the upcoming prequel are determined to deliver a  film Tony Soprano himself would approve of. The script was penned by David Chase, who created the original HBO series, and Lawrence Conner, who served as a writer for The Sopranos from 2001 to 2002. At the movie’s helm is director Alan Taylor, whose previous credits include HBO’s Game of Thrones and Marvel’s Thor: The Dark Road, as well as directing six episodes of The Sopranos in 2007.


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Although the film’s plot is still under wraps, it is known that the prequel will be set in Newark during the riots of 1967, a particularly acrimonious time of tension between the city’s Italian and black residents. Only Gandolfini’s character has been confirmed, but reports suggest that the film will see the return of other beloved Sopranos characters as well.

Along with Gandolfini, the film will star Jon Bernthal (The Punisher), Vera Farmiga, Alessandro Nivola (Disobedience), Billy Magnussen (Black Mirror), and Corey StollThe Many Saints of Newark is being produced by New Line Cinema and distributed by Warner Bros.

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