The decision to set The Many Saints of Newark in 1967 is a carefully considered choice that draws upon the Newark riots’ bleak true story.
HBO’s The Many Saints of Newark is set in 1967 amidst a backdrop of emotive riots that ensured a tumultuous time for the residents of the largest city in New Jersey. A direct prequel to The Sopranos, The Many Saints of Newark tells its tale through the eyes of a teenage Anthony Soprano caught in a violent gang war of his family’s making. From the mind of Sopranos creator David Chase, the film will also allow a close examination of the legendary Dickie Moltisanti, whose influence over Tony shapes him into the feared head of the DiMeo crime family.
The Many Saints of Newark was always destined to be an incredibly emotional piece of cinema due to its inevitable memorialization of the late James Gandolfini. Not only has The Many Saints of Newark used archival recordings of Tony’s voice, but Gandolfini’s surviving son, Michael, dons the role of a young Anthony Soprano. The initial critical response suggests Michael Gandolfini delivers a heart-wrenching performance in his father’s image as the teenage Tony morphs into the infamous, all-powerful mob boss that dazzled in the original Sopranos story.