Entertainment & Arts

The Sopranos: James Gandolfini's son to fill father's shoes in prequel

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano and his son Michael Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Michael Gandolfini (right) was born in the year his dad James first appeared in The Sopranos

The son of James Gandolfini is to take on his father's most famous role in a prequel to hit HBO show The Sopranos.

Michael Gandolfini, 19, said he was "thrilled" to be cast as the young Tony Soprano in The Many Saints of Newark, a film currently in development.

"It's a profound honour to continue my dad's legacy," he said in a statement.

James Gandolfini, who died in 2013 aged 51, played mob boss Tony in six seasons of the New Jersey-set crime saga, which ran from 1999 to 2007.

Vera Farmiga, Alessandro Nivola and Jon Bernthal will also have roles in the film, which will be set during the Newark race riots of the 1960s.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gandolfini (centre) remains best known for his Tony Soprano role

Alan Taylor, who directed nine episodes of The Sopranos as well as such films as Thor: The Dark World and Terminator Genisys, will direct the film.

Sopranos creator David Chase has written its script with Lawrence Conner, whose credits include three episodes of the award-winning series.

Michael Gandolfini was seen last year as Joey Dwyer in HBO's The Deuce and also had a small role in Ocean's Eight.

He was born in 1999 when his father was married to his first wife Marcy. Gandolfini Sr went on to have another child with his second wife, former actress Deborah Lin.

It's a family affair

Neil Smith, entertainment reporter

Michael Gandolfini is not the first child of an actor to share a role with a famous parent.

  • Jason Connery played Robin Hood in 1980s TV series Robin of Sherwood, a character his father Sean played in 1976 film Robin and Marian
  • In the National Theatre's 2005 stage version of horror film Theatre of Blood, Diana Rigg's daughter Rachael Stirling played the same character her mother played in the 1973 original
  • In 2007 film Evening, the character Meryl Streep plays is portrayed in flashbacks by her daughter Mamie Gummer
  • The same thing happens in 2017 film The Wife, in which Glenn Close's daughter Annie Starke plays a younger version of her mother's character Joan Castleman
  • In a 2003 episode of The West Wing, Emilio Estevez is briefly seen in a TV news bulletin as a young Jed Bartlet, the character his father Martin Sheen plays in the show
  • And then there's 2015 film Straight Outta Compton, in which rapper Ice Cube is played as a young man by his own son O'Shea Jackson Jr

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