Many Saints of Newark, in theaters November 3, offers a Scorsesian prologue to the cult series The Sopranos. We decipher the phenomenon with the creator David Chase and his team, including Michael Gandolfini, son of the late James.
Before being a legend of crime, Tony Soprano made his ranges with his uncle, Dickie Moltisanti. In an explosive context of gang warfare, this intractable godfather opened the doors of the mafia to his nephew. Many Saints of Newark, prequel to the Sopranos, therefore focuses on Tony’s mentor, the one who inspired him to become the leader we have known in the series.
This tutelary figure, the main character of the film, is played by Alessandro Nivola, who was immediately seduced by this charismatic man who hides a dark and very violent part.
“The first thing that struck me about Dickie when I read the script is that unlike other gangster characters, he only commits violent crimes under the sway of passion, d ‘an impulse of the moment. He does not plan his crimes. It comes from a momentary impulse of rage. It is an emotional response to someone who betrays him and who means a lot to him “, explains the actor.
“He’s not a calculating and obsessive killer. He puts on nice costumes and pretends all is well but he’s a character going through a real moral crisis. He keeps everything to himself, so he has this inner rage. that he can sometimes no longer control. We understand in the film that his father (Ray Liotta) was violent towards him during his childhood, that can partly explain his personality. He will gradually understand that he is the architect of its own destruction “, analyzes the actor.
For his part, director Alan Taylor is very curious about how viewers will receive the film. “I’ve only seen it once in the presence of an audience and I’m still seeing how it goes. There is, without a doubt, a kind of darkness to this movie and I think that it comes mostly from David Chase’s perspective on these things. It struck me at one point: the movie begins in a graveyard, it’s narrated by a deceased character, and it ends with a funeral. to be in a bubble of darkness “, indicates the director.
There is a lot of humor, nonsense, affection and broken hearts but it is all shrouded in darkness.
“That being said, there is a lot of humor, nonsense, affection and broken hearts but it is all shrouded in darkness. I would hate to think that there is only darkness, I think there’s a lot more going on besides that. And in a way, The Sopranos also had a very dark view of humanity and America, but lit by action. and comedy and so on. So I tried to balance those two sides. “, says Alan Taylor.
Creator David Chase evokes this “darkness” by comparing the events of 1967 depicted in the film with the world today. “There is a parallel between the plot which is set in 1967 and everything that we have lived with in particular Black Lives Matter and George Floyd. We did not include that in a conscious way with my co-writer Lawrence Konner. It shows that things haven’t changed that much in several decades “, analyzes the creator of the Sopranos and screenwriter of the film.
Obviously, to play Tony Soprano as a teenager, you had to find an actor with the stature to take on such a responsibility, especially since the death of James Gandolfini in 2013. Finally, it was his son, Michael, who took up the torch.
“I felt on another planet when I found out I had the part. I auditioned over a 3 month period so I spent a lot of time with the accent, the physicality and the emotions of the As a result, when I got the role, I had already worked a lot on it, so the hesitation or the fear I had when I was offered the casting, I had already evacuated them. was nothing more than something I feared.
On the other hand, obviously, when I was told, I was ecstatic. I have to say that what really excited me was when I learned the names of all the actors who were going to be in the movie. That upset me, the fact that I was going to work with Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Leslie Odom Jr, Alessandro Nivola. I was so blown away by this idea and the idea of working with David Chase. It was a very surreal feeling but also very exciting “, says Michael Gandolfini.
It was not easy for him, he had to take it upon himself to take on the role.
As for the creator of the Sopranos, he was delighted …