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Michael Gandolfini Was Conflicted Over Playing His Father's Sopranos Role

The Many Saints of Newark actor Michael Gandolfini reveals why he was initially conflicted about inheriting the role of Tony Soprano from his father.

Michael Gandolfini has revealed that he was initially conflicted about taking over for his father as Tony Soprano. The actor recently stepped into his father, James Gandolfini’s shoes for The Many Saints of Newark, which debuted this weekend. A prequel that helps to set up HBO’s iconic series, The Sopranos, the film explores Tony’s origins in the New Jersey mafia.

James Gandolfini portrayed Tony Soprano from 1999 to 2007, appearing in all 86 episodes of the legendary series. Six years after the divisive ending of The Sopranos, the actor passed away due to a heart attack at the age of 51. Eight years after his death, The Sopranos creator David Chase has teamed up with frequent Sopranos director Alan Taylor for a prequel titled The Many Saints of Newark – which tells the story of a young Tony (now played by Michael Gandolfini) coming under the tutelage of Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) during the 1967 New Jersey riots. The film explores Tony’s earlier years and reframes many classic Sopranos characters such as Uncle Junior (Corey Stoll) and Livia Soprano (Vera Farmiga).

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