Michael Gandolfini reveals a few interesting details about taking on his late father’s iconic role from The Sopranos.

There are many intriguing aspects to the upcoming release of the film The Many Saints Of Newark, not least David Chase returning to write a prequel story to The Sopranos, a show that’s widely-credited with birthing the boom of television’s ongoing ‘golden age’. That, and the he chance to see the formative years of Tony Soprano, one of the most interesting TV characters to emerge from the early 2000s. But factor in too the work of Michael Gandolfini, as he steps into (a younger version) of the character that made his late father so renowned.

Despite bearing a striking physical resemblance to hi dad, Gandolfini knew that wouldn’t be enough to land him the part in The Many Saints Of Newark, and has been chatting about the process of getting the role itself to Vanity Fair.

He states that the connection between his father and the role of Tony Soprano was not as developed as you might believe. “My dad didn’t want me to see Tony Soprano – the violence, the angry, the mean. Of course I was on set and would visit him in his trailer, but I had never watched the show…. I never knew Tony Soprano. I only knew my dad.”

When he heard about the role of young Tony in The Many Saints Of Newark, Gandolfini thought “Absolutely not. What if I’m not good?”

But when his manager insisted he audition, he decided it was time to see the first season of the show. “It was really hard to watch my dad,” he says. “I recorded four hours of his monologues with Melfi and walked around New York with them constantly, constantly, constantly playing in my ear.”

When it came to the audition, Gandolfini says “I had this unspoken trust that David wasn’t going to cast me if there was even a shred that this isn’t going to work.”

In terms of his take on the story itself, Gandolfini added “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?”

Finally, Gandolfini offers an insight into life with the greatly-missed James Gandolfini as both an actor and a father, saying “my dad constantly told me, if I’d ask a question about acting, ‘I’m not your acting coach. I’m your dad,’ which I really appreciate now.”

The Many Saints Of Newark is set to release in September, after several delays. We’ll keep you updated with fresh news as we hear it.

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