‘There wasn’t a dry eye in the house’: James Gandolfini’s son Michael had poignant tribute for late father filming The Many Saints Of Newark
James Gandolfini’s son Michael Gandolfini brought tears to the eyes of cast and crew in bringing up his late father’s name during the making of The Many Saints Of Newark, The Sopranos prequel film due out this fall.
Michael, 22, is set to play the younger incarnation of his father’s character Tony Soprano in the movie, and according to the film’s director Alan Taylor, 62, the second-generation actor brought up his late father – who died of a heart attack when Michael was 14 – during a dinner during production.
‘We all had dinner one night,’ Taylor told Empire. ‘At one point, [Michael] stood up and said, “I want to thank everyone for doing this because it was a chance to say hello to my father … and goodbye again.”‘
The latest: James Gandolfini’s son Michael Gandolfini, 22, brought tears to the eyes of cast and crew in bringing up his late father’s name during the making of The Many Saints Of Newark, The Sopranos prequel film due out this fall. He was snapped in 2019 in LA
Taylor said ‘there wasn’t a dry eye in the house’ after Michael’s statement about James, who passed away while the two were on a vacation to Rome on June 19, 2013.
Michael told the outlet that taking the role of young Tony Soprano was ‘probably the toughest decision [he’s] ever had to make.
‘You know, I didn’t want to put pressure on myself to walk out of this feeling like I’d grown in terms of my feelings towards my dad,’ he said. ‘I just wanted to be the best actor I could be, portraying Tony in the way David wanted, scene by scene. I didn’t think about my grief because … well, I would have s*** the bed.’
The prequel focuses on the budding mafia boss as a youth amid the unrest of the 1967 Newark riots, and tensions between the African-American and Italian-American communities.
Joe Pantoliano and the late James Gandolfini (R) both won Emmys for their work on The Sopranos
Michael was seen on set as the younger incarnation of his father’s character Tony Soprano in 2019
Michael, who has previously been seen on The Deuce, The Boy, the Dog and the Clown, and Youngest, said that the softer sides of the iconic TV character are illustrated during his formative years.
‘My dad’s character had all this beautiful sensitivity underneath this aggression,’ Michael told Empire. ‘This version of him is the reverse. His curiosity and sensitivity comes first. He’s not a gun-wielding gangster. He’s a kid who gets whittled down and pulled in.’
He joins a cast that includes Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Cory Stoll, Billy Magnussen and Alessandro Nivola in The Many Saints Of Newark, which is set to debut October 1.
Gandolfini and Sopranos creator David Chase were seen on set in May of 2019