David Chase announced last year that he’d begun work on a prequel film to his beloved HBO series The Sopranos. We received few details at the time besides a title — The Many Saints of Newark — and learning that the movie would be set in the 1960s with a focus on the race riots between African Americans and Italians in New Jersey. However, with the original series celebrating its 20th anniversary this week at the IFC Sopranos Film Festival, Chase spoke with Deadline to offer further details on the project.
Chase confirmed that the movie will indeed heavily feature a young Tony Soprano, but will also center around his father, Johnny Boy, as well as his uncle Junior Soprano.
Speaking about his motivation to return to the series after all this time, Chase told Deadline, “I was against [the movie] for a long time and I’m still very worried about it, but I became interested in Newark, where my parents came from, and where the riots took place.”
He added, “I was living in suburban New Jersey at the time that happened, and my girlfriend was working in downtown Newark. I was just interested in the whole Newark riot thing. I started thinking about those events and organized crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements.”
Longtime Sopranos director Alan Taylor is on board to helm the film from a script Chase penned alongside fellow series writer Lawrence Konner. The creator had long suggested a possible sequel to the TV show since it left the air in 2007, however a prequel became the only plausible option when James Gandolfini passed away in 2013.
The movie is being made by New Line and Warner Bros., and is currently in the casting stage with production set to begin later this year.