Perhaps unsurprisingly, David Chase has decided to keep things within the family for the most highly-anticipated casting choice of his The Sopranos prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark. Deadline reports that James Gandolfini‘s son, Michael Gandolfini, will step into the extra-large shoes of a young Tony Soprano after “an extensive audition process”.
“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Michael Gandolfini said in a statement. “I’m thrilled that I’m going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for The Many Saints of Newark.”
The resemblance between Michael and his father, who died in 2013, is certainly uncanny, and it’ll be interesting to see how the young actor translates that into a Tony Soprano decades before he’s Tony mother effing Soprano. So much of the elder Gandolfini’s iconic turn as the mob boss family man—which earned him seven Emmy nominations with three wins—came down to sheer presence, an obvious menace displayed through head tilts and nose-breathing, but The Many Saints of Newark is a Tony still being groomed to become king-shit of New Jersey.
Michael Gandolfini’s actual on-screen career is still pretty early-days, but he’s no stranger to HBO. The young actor appeared in five episodes of David Simon‘s The Deuce season 2, playing the son of Chris Bauer‘s Bobby Dwyer.
Co-written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, with Alan Taylor directing, Many Saints—set during the tumultuous Newark riots of the 1960s—will follow Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), father of the original series’ Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) and mentor to the teenage Tony Soprano. The cast has been shaping up to be pretty stacked over the last few weeks, with Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Corey Stoll, and Billy Magnussen coming aboard.