The star of the upcoming Sopranos prequel film, Alessandro Nivola, said playing Tony Soprano’s mentor, Dickie Moltisanti, was “an absolute joy” and praised creator David Chase for giving him “the role of a lifetime,” in an interview with EW.
Nivola’s character, Dickie, loomed large over the original HBO series, though he never actually appeared in the show. Along with being the mafia mentor to Tony (James Gandolfini), he was the late father of Soprano crime family up-and-comer Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) and the cousin of Tony’s wife Carmela (Edie Falco). Dickie, however, will be at the center of the prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark, which is set in Sixties Newark, New Jersey and looks at the tensions and violence that broke out between the city’s black and Italian residents.
“David Chase wrote me the role of a lifetime,” Nivola said. “Far and away, filming this movie was the most exciting thing in my career so far. It’s an incredibly nuanced, violent, funny, charming, scary, morally confused person, and it was an absolute joy to play.”
Nivola added that he had “high hopes” for the film, while he also spoke about how The Many Saints of Newark will inform and cast a new light on The Sopranos. “What David did was to tell an origin story of Tony Soprano through a character that was dead before the series and that is such a surprising way of going about it,” he said. “And the late ’60s mob movie is the stuff of dreams. Everyone was at the top of their game. The only infuriating thing is how long we have to wait.”
Chase wrote the screenplay for The Many Saints of Newark, while Sopranos regular Alan Taylor directed it. The film is set to open September 25th, 2020 and will also star Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Billy Magnussen, Ray Liotta, Leslie Odom, Jr. and Corey Stoll, while Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini, was cast as a young Tony Soprano.