Michael Gandolfini says that before stepping into his late father’s role of Tony Soprano for the upcoming “Sopranos” prequel movie, he had to watch the iconic series for the first time — which was extremely difficult.
“The funny thing is, before the audition, I had never watched a minute of ‘The Sopranos,’” Gandolfini, 19, said in a new interview with Esquire. “I was just a kid when he was making it. I would go to the set and ask him what it was about, and he’d say, ‘Oh, it’s about this guy who’s in the mob and kind of goes to therapy.’”
The actor, who was born in 1999, the year the original series premiered, admitted the hardest part was watching it for the first time.
“It was an intense process. Because, as an actor, I had to watch this guy who created the role, to look for mannerisms, voice, all those things I would have to echo. But then I’d also be seeing my father,” Gandolfini said. “I think what made it so hard was I had to do it alone. I was just sitting alone in my dark apartment, watching my dad all the time. I started having crazy dreams. I had one where I auditioned for David [E. Chase] and I looked down at my hands, and they were my dad’s hands.”
It was James Gandolfini’s sudden passing in 2013 from a heart attack at age 51 that propelled Michael into acting, he revealed.
“From the first day, I fell in love with it. It actually started my grieving process with my dad,” he said.
HBO’s “Sopranos” prequel, titled “The Many Saints of Newark,” is set to be released in 2020.
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