Ac­tor gives hints about film

A young Tony So­prano will fea­ture in The Many Saints of Ne­wark, pre­quel to hit TV show


NEW YORK — The star of the up­com­ing The So­pra­nos pre­quel says a young Tony So­prano will be a part of the film — but had good rea­son to be care­ful about how much else he re­vealed about The Many Saints of Ne­wark.

Alessan­dro Nivola spoke about the project on the red car­pet Wed­nes­day be­fore a panel dis­cus­sion led by cre­ator David Chase to cel­e­brate the 20th an­niver­sary of The So­pra­nos in New York.

“I guess I got to be kind of dis­creet about it, so David Chase doesn’t kill me,” Nivola said. “I’m playing Dickie Molti­santi, who is the cen­tral char­ac­ter in the movie, and he is Christo­pher Molti­santi’s dad.”

Christo­pher Molti­santi, played by Michael Im­pe­ri­oli in the se­ries, was a pro­tege of Tony So­prano, the New Jersey Mob boss por­trayed by James Gan­dolfini.

Though the elder Molti­santi never ap­peared in the se­ries, he is of­ten men­tioned as part of Christo­pher’s back­story. The father was gunned down when Christo­pher was young, and Nivola said the film will ex­plore the in­ter­lock­ing his­tory of Dickie Molti­santi and So­prano.

“Tony will be a char­ac­ter in the film, and as was men­tioned through­out The So­pra­nos se­ries, my char­ac­ter was an im­por­tant per­son in his life, and it ex­am­ines that relationship as well,” Nivola said.

The film be­gins in 1967 with the back­drop of the race ri­ots that tore through Ne­wark, N.J. Nivola said racial ten­sion is “a big part of the story.”

Nivola cited “weird co­in­ci­dences” that told him this role was meant for him, in­clud­ing the fact that his real-life neigh­bour is Tim Van Pat­ten, who di­rected many episodes of The So­pra­nos.

An­other co­in­ci­dence con­nects his own fam­ily to the show: An episode in the second sea­son shows So­prano vis­it­ing Naples, Italy, and in one of the scenes, just over Gan­dolfini’s shoul­der, is seen a sculp­ture — made by Nivola’s grand­fa­ther, the artist Costantino Nivola.

“So it was meant to be or some­thing,” Alessan­dro Nivola said.

Chase will pro­duce The Many Saints of Ne­wark and has writ­ten the script with The So­pra­nos writer Lawrence Kon­ner. Alan Tay­lor, who helmed episodes of The So­pra­nos, Mad Men and Game of Thrones, will di­rect. The Many Saints of Ne­wark be­gins shoot­ing in April.

“So, I got a lit­tle time to hang out in so­cial clubs be­fore then,” Nivola joked.


From left: Tony Sirico, Steve Van Zandt, James Gan­dolfini, Michael Im­pe­ri­oli and Vin­cent Pa­s­tore, the cast of The So­pra­nos. Alessan­dro Nivola, who will por­tray Dicki Molti­santi in The Many Saints of Ne­wark, says a lot of strange co­in­ci­dences told him he was meant for the role.


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