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Michael Gandolfini, son of James Gandolfini, lands role of young Tony in 'Sopranos' prequel film

Michael Gandolfini, son of James Gandolfini, lands role of young Tony in 'Sopranos' prequel film
Michael Gandolfini, the son of late "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, will play Tony Soprano in the HBO series' upcoming prequel film, "The Many Saints of Newark." (Charles Sykes / Invision)

After an extensive audition process to cast a young Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini, has landed the role of the iconic mobster-to-be in “The Sopranos” prequel film, “The Many Saints of Newark.”

James Gandolfini, of course, originated the role of the crime-family boss for the groundbreaking HBO series, which collected dozens of awards during its run from 1999 to 2007 and celebrated its 20-year anniversary this month. He died unexpectedly in 2013 at age 51.

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“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 to The Times on Wednesday. “I’m thrilled that I am 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 young Gandolfini is best known for his starring role in HBO’s “The Deuce,” in which he plays Joe, the son of Bobby Dwyer (Chris Bauer).

Though details about New Line Cinema’s “The Many Saints of Newark” have been scant, the prequel will be set amid the deadly Newark riots that erupted between rival Italian and African American mobsters in the 1960s. Some beloved characters from the television series are also expected to reappear.

The prequel will also star Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen and Corey Stoll.

“Sopranos” creator David Chase will again co-write and co-produce the ensemble drama with Lawrence Konner. The film will be directed by Emmy winner Alan Taylor, who has helmed several episodes of “The Sopranos,” HBO’s fantasy-epic “Game of Thrones” and “Thor: The Dark World.”

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