The highly anticipated Sopranos prequel movie, The Many Saints of Newark, started production earlier this year with a tentative release of Sept. 25, 2020. James Gandolfini's son Michael Gandolfini is set to star as a young Tony Soprano, while the rest of impressive cast's characters have been kept mostly under wraps. Gandolfini, whose father died in in 2013, has admitted that he never saw the show before auditioning for the younger version of the character his father played.
Speaking with Esquire, Gandolfini admitted that he only got around to seeing it when he started to prepare for his audition. "The funny thing is, before the audition, I had never watched a minute of The Sopranos," he explained. "I was just a kid when he was making it. I would go to the set and ask him what it was about, and he’d say, ‘Oh, it’s about this guy who’s in the mob and kind of goes to therapy.’ The hardest part of this whole process was watching the show for the first time."
The young actor has recently starred in the third season of HBO's The Deuce, but playing the iconic character his dad brought to life has been his toughest job as an actor so far. "It was an intense process. Because, as an actor, I had to watch this guy who created the role, to look for mannerisms, voice, all those things I would have to echo," he said. "But then I’d also be seeing my father. I think what made it so hard was I had to do it alone. I was just sitting alone in my dark apartment, watching my dad all the time. I started having crazy dreams. I had one where I auditioned for David [Chase] and I looked down at my hands, and they were my dad’s hands."
While watching through the series, he added that certain scenes got to him. "There’s a scene where Meadow comes home late at night, and he’s sitting with a drink, and he’s like, ‘You know I love you, right?’ That hit hard," Gandolfini continued. "The other one that crushed me was when he yells at A. J., and he gets a pizza to apologize, and he sits by his son’s bed and says, ‘I couldn’t ask for a better son.’ I just knew he was talking to me in that scene."