Oscar season better get ready for young Tony Soprano. Warner Bros. has announced “The Sopranos” prequel movie is now going by the working title “Newark” instead of “The Many Saints of Newark. The film will open in theaters September 25, 2020. The release date makes it a prime awards season title and puts a world premiere at a fall film festival such as Telluride or the Toronto International Film Festival on the table. The television series picked up 21 Emmys and five Golden Globes during its run, so there’s no reason to think Warner Bros. isn’t viewing this prequel film as a potential awards season title.
“Newark” is written by “The Sopranos” creator David Chase and is being directed by Alan Taylor, the filmmaker who directed several “Sopranos” episodes before helming big budget movies such as “Thor: The Dark World” and “Terminator Genisys.” The story is set in 1960s Newark amidst riots between the city’s African-American and Italian communities. Alessandro Nivola is leading the cast as Dickie Moltisanti, the father of Tony Soprano’s protégé Christopher (Michael Imperioli). Chase confirmed in January that a young version of Tony will appear in the film. James Gandolfini famously played Tony in the HBO series and his son, Michael, will appear in “Newark” as younger Tony.
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Speaking to Deadline last month about writing the prequel, Chase said, “I was interested in Newark and life in Newark at that time. I used to go to down there every Saturday night for dinner with my grandparents. But the thing that interested me most was Tony’s boyhood. I was interested in exploring that…The movie will deal with the tensions between the blacks and whites at the time, and Tony Soprano will be part of this, but as a kid.”
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“Newark” is also set to star Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stroll, and Billy Magnussen.