Entertainment

James Gandolfini’s widow praises his son’s role as young Tony Soprano

Michael has take on his late dad’s role (Picture: HBO Max)

James Gandolfini’s widow Deborah Lin has shared that the Sopranos actor ‘would be very proud’ to see his son Michael Gandolfini step into the role of a younger Tony Soprano in upcoming prequel film The Many Saints of Newark.

Deborah, who is step-mother to Michael following her and James’s 2008 wedding, was full of praise for the 22-year-old actor, who filmed the origin movie in 2019 before it got caught up in pandemic-related delays.

She described how odd but ‘emotional’ it was to watch her stepson in the trailer, taking on his father’s most iconic part, following his death in 2013.

Talking to The Post, she said: ‘It was almost surreal to see Michael in the trailer. I know it took a lot of courage for him to take this role. It was very emotional.’

However, she was quick to praise his performance as well as his bravery, continuing: ‘But the whole family is just so proud of him. His father would be very proud.’

Michael, who scored his first major acting role with his part as Joey Dwyer in TV series The Deuce, which zeroed in on the porn and prostitution rampant in New York City during the 70s and 80s, was just 14 when his father died after suffering a heart attack aged 51 while the family was on a trip to Rome in 2013.

James made his mark as a mob boss in therapy in The Sopranos (Picture: HBO)

James was an acclaimed actor, appearing in films including True Romance, The Juror and The Mexican, who really made his mark in HBO series The Sopranos, which ran from 1999 to 2007 and netted him six Emmy nominations for lead actor (and three wins).

Michael previously admitted in an interview with Esquire to having ‘never watched a minute of The Sopranos’ before his successful audition for The Many Saints of Newark, and called his first time viewing the show an ‘intense process’ as he struggled to separate the analysing he had to do as an actor from the emotional response he had to seeing his dad on the screen.

An origin story of Tony Soprano through the eyes of Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), his uncle and the father of older Tony’s protégé Christopher Moltisanti, The Many Saints of Newark trailer dropped in June and is scheduled for an October release in cinemas and via streaming on HBO Max.

Fans were extremely pumped by the snippet of the long-awaited film as they praised the casting and the ‘absolute chills’ the trailer was providing.

Via a voice-over provided by the late James, the trailer shows young Tony growing up in the 1960s in one of the most tumultuous eras in Newark’s history, becoming a man just as rival gangsters begin to rise up and challenge the all-powerful DiMeo crime family’s hold over the increasingly race-torn city. 

Joining Michael and Alessandro in the cast are Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Vera Farmiga, Billy Magnussen and John Magaro, as well as Leslie Odom Jr., Michaela De Rossi and Ray Liotta.

The Many Saints Of Newark will release in cinemas and on HBO Max on October 1 2021.

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