14 years after the end of the Sopranos, the screenwriter and showrunner David Chase resurrected Tony soprano with a film, Many Saints Of Newark, to tell the youth of his mafia hero at the end of the 60s in Newark in the shadow of Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola), mafioso and sociopath by state, father of Christopher Moltisanti and beloved uncle.
Many Saints Of Newark – a story of the Sopranos, the cast also including Jon Bernthal, Ray Liotta, Vera Farmiga and especially Michael Gandolfini taking over the cult role of his father James, will delight fans of the Sopranos
David Chase is not a convenient person. Neither smiling. But after all this is not what we ask of him. The brilliant creator of the Sopranos has agreed to chat with Filmsactu for a few minutes. This without tongue in cheek.
Why a movie and not an HBO series for this prequel?
David Chase: Because watching TV doesn’t interest me anymore.
Are you going to feel like you’re at the end of what you can offer the series? Does this format no longer inspire you?
He might inspire me but I’m getting old. And I want to make a movie or two before I stop. And I don’t really want to do TV anymore (Since this interview, we have learned that David Chase is in talks with HBO Max for a sequel to Many Saints Of Newark in series. -ndr).
(David Chase on the set of Many Saints)
Why shoot Many Saints today? Did you feel that the history of the Sopranos deserved to expand a bit more and that you were not done with them?
Not at all. It didn’t happen like that. New Line Cinema came to see me and repeatedly suggested a Soprano movie. After a while, due to certain circumstances in my private and professional life, it seemed like the right time. Everything fit together correctly for this film to see the light of day.
If The Many Saints is a success, would other Soprano films be possible?
It is not my decision. But if Warner Brothers or New Line want to do another one, we’ll see.
What was the hardest part about Many Saints? Find the right actors for the roles?
Casting actors is always difficult. But if you do it successfully, it’s more than half the battle that you’ve won. At least when it comes to a movie about real people. If it’s a superhero movie or a robot movie, we don’t care who’s playing.
Why didn’t you direct the film yourself?
I only directed the pilot and the last episode of the series. Of all the directors who have worked on the Sopranos, Alan Taylor is hands down one of the best. And yet, I am not easy to please. But from our collaborations some of the best episodes of The Sopranos were born.
What is your earliest memory of Michael Gandolfini as a young adult? Did you immediately think of him to reprise the role of Tony Soprano?
Not at all. I lost track of her after her father’s funeral. He was then 13 years old. People talked to me about him here and there, but I never saw him again. Then he moved to eastern New York and my wife and I had lunch with him. I discovered Michael as an adult but it never occurred to me that he could be Tony. He didn’t show the urge. But when we started to cast, many people wondered “And why not Michael Gandolfini?”. We could not find the actor we were looking for and this choice was imposed.
At what point in the making of The Sopranos did you know how the series was going to end? Concluding a series is always extremely complicated and puzzle.
You can kill a great series with a poor ending. The idea for the finale did not come to me during the first season but I would say two, three years before shooting the last episode. HBO once told me that it would be good if I had the end in mind and knew where I was going and how many years I wanted to do it.
Did this final sequence change between when you imagined it and when it was shot?
Yes of course. At first, I imagined Tony coming back from a meeting in New York. The credits still show him driving from New York to New Jersey. I imagined the last scene might show him going this route before he was killed.
So the idea for the restaurant came afterwards?
Yes, one day I was driving near the airport and I saw this little boui-boui that served lunch. It seemed logical to me that he would stop there for a snack.
For a long time fans refused to believe that Tony was dead.
I never understood why. It seemed pretty self-explanatory to me. For 7 years, the public loved this guy even though he was a …