The phrase 'like father, like son' takes on a whole new meaning in the arresting and gritty first trailer for Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints of Newark. The late James Gandolfini is succeeded in the role of Tony Soprano by his son Michael who embodies the younger, but equally volatile, iteration of the character in his formative years.
Directed by Sopranos series veteran Alan Taylor and scripted by series creator/producer David Chase, it's enough to make you roll up your sleeves and whack... some pasta on the stove. The 1970s haircuts and flared trousers are out in full force as the movie introduces us to the impressionable young Tony whose inclination towards the criminal lifestyle was, perhaps inevitably, encouraged by his own family.
This includes Alessandro Nivola (Jurassic Park III) as Tony's uncle Dickie Moltisanti, whose blend of quiet charisma is laced with sudden outbursts of threat in the classic gangster movie tradition. The excellent cast also includes Vera Farmiga (The Conjuring) as Tony's tough-talking mother Livia, Jon Bernthal (Sicario) as Giovanni "Johnny Boy" Soprano and Corey Stoll (First Man) as Junior Soprano. Hamilton's Leslie Odom Jr. also features, as does Ray Liotta, himself a veteran of Martin Scorsese's mob masterpiece Goodfellas.
Here's the official synopsis: "The film is set in the explosive 1960s in the era of the Newark riots, when the African-American and Italian communities are often at each other’s throats. But among the gangsters within each group, the dangerous rivalry becomes especially lethal."
It's a story that promises to fill in the gaps as to one of TV's most iconic characters. James Gandolfini's mixture of calculating ambition and sudden savagery made The Sopranos compulsive HBO viewing and helped propel it to numerous awards wins. (That ending still splits people down the middle, though.) His son Michael has got some big shoes to fill but the trailer certainly resonates with lived-in, violent conviction.
The Many Saints of Newark is released in Cineworld cinemas on 23rd October 2021.