Fourteen long years have passed since viewers of The Sopranos last woke up this morning and got themselves a gun for the stubbornly ambiguous finale to the seminal gangster series. Ever since the screen cut to black, fans have wanted more in whatever form it may take, and creator David Chase has long toyed around with the possibility of a prequel to his masterpiece.
After rumors and delays and starts and stops, that film’s release is now close at hand. Today brings the first trailer for The Many Saints of Newark, which rejoins Tony, his family, and his capital-F Family during the bad ol’ days of the ’60s, as one generation of mafioso trained the next.
The young Tony (portrayed by original actor James Gandolfini‘s son, Michael) struggles at school yet has a natural temperament for leadership, much to the disbelief of his emotionally abusive mother Livia (now played by Vera Farmiga). He’d rather spend his time listening to records and being a hooligan, but he’ll soon get caught up in the percolating gang war fought by his father Johnny Boy (Jon Bernthal) and his associate Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola).
Between the impressionistic performances — observe Farmiga’s sigh, so studied to resemble Nancy Marchand’s — and the snippet of the Alabama 3 theme song, the trailer makes a conscious effort to evoke the public’s affectionate memories of the original show. And yet the look of the film bears little aesthetic similarity to the Sopranos we know and love, its chilly digital photography and rusty-blue color-grading alien to the era being depicted and the era of early HBO.
If nothing else, it’ll be edifying and enjoyable to see how Chase and director Alan Taylor approach the boyhood versions of Tony, Paulie (played by Billy Magnussen), and Silvio (John Magaro) while working new faces into their world as well (Ray Liotta figures into all this, somehow).
The Many Saints of Newark comes to cinemas in the US and UK, as well as HBO Max, on 1 October.
Published 29 Jun 2021
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