TravelGuides – What it’s like for James Gandolfini’s son Michael to play Tony Soprano


TravelGuides – What it’s like for James Gandolfini’s son Michael to play Tony Soprano

For Michael Gandolfini, entering into his father’s footwear was by no means going to be straightforward.

In “The Many Saints of Newark,” the 22-12 months-previous performs a youthful model of certainly one of TV’s most iconic characters, Tony Soprano — a job for which his dad, the late James Gandolfini, gained six Emmys.

To many, James Gandolfini was Tony Soprano. So followers had been surprised when the buzzy trailer for the HBO Max film dropped earlier this month, with James’ voice narrating as his lookalike son appeared onscreen.


“It was almost surreal to see Michael in the trailer,” Michael’s stepmother and James’ widow, Deborah Lin, advised The Post. “I know it took a lot of courage for him to take this role. It was very emotional. But the whole family is just so proud of him. His father would be very proud.”

Working on the “Sopranos” prequel film has been a type of remedy for Michael, in accordance to those that know him. The NYU scholar has stated he truly turned to performing to assist him grieve following his dad’s tragic demise in June 2013, on the age of 51.

Michael Gandolfini attends HBO's Official Golden Globes After Party in 2020.
Michael Gandolfini attends HBO’s Official Golden Globes After Party in 2020.
Getty Images

Michael, the actor’s solely son, was simply 14 when James suffered a coronary heart assault in his resort room whereas they had been on trip in Rome. The boy bade farewell to his father at a star-studded funeral alongside the solid of “The Sopranos.”


And whereas he had grown up having the actors, together with Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Lorraine Bracco, as household, Michael didn’t truly watch the present till it got here time for him to audition for the film function of Tony.

That’s as a result of, he stated, James “didn’t want me to see Tony Soprano — the violence, the angry, the mean … It was really hard to watch my dad,” Michael advised Vanity Fair.

But he discovered inspiration within the moments  when mobster Tony met therapist Dr. Melfi, performed by Bracco: “I recorded four hours of his monologues with Melfi and walked around New York with them constantly, constantly, constantly playing in my ear.”

In the forthcoming movie “The Many Saints of Newark,” Michael (right) plays young Tony Soprano as a mobster-in-the-making in 1960s Newark, NJ.
In the forthcoming film “The Many Saints of Newark,” Michael (proper) performs younger Tony Soprano as a mobster-in-the-making in Nineteen Sixties Newark, NJ.

And his dad’s castmates are cheering him on. “We want Michael to succeed and be happy with whatever he does,” Bracco, who final noticed Michael simply earlier than the pandemic, advised The Post. “He has very massive footwear to fill and I hope that folks aren’t anticipating an excessive amount of. I would like him to be his personal man, his personal actor … I don’t assume we must always actually evaluate him to Jimmy.

“He’s a smart, great kid. I don’t want to say that he reminds me of Jimmy — he is his own person. But Jimmy would be very proud of him, he would be thrilled.”

James and his first spouse, Marcy, wed in March 1999, two months earlier than Michael’s beginning. It was additionally the 12 months that “The Sopranos” premiered on HBO, making James — who had beforehand had small however memorable roles in “Get Shorty” and “Crimson Tide” — a family identify.

Calling her co-star a “hands-on dad,” Bracco remembered one of many first instances James introduced Michael to the set.

“He was tiny and Jimmy was making me laugh, saying, ‘I want him to be a man,’” she stated. “I told him ‘He’s three months old, leave him alone!’”

His father’s profession was “rough” for the household because it meant he was “away a lot,” Michael has stated. In truth, James tried to dissuade his son from pursuing a Hollywood profession, regardless of the boy’s love of performing — particularly performing out scenes from the Broadway present “Wicked.”

“As I got older, he wanted me to play sports. I felt that burden,” Michael, who grew up bouncing between Los Angeles and New York City, advised Esquire. “I wanted to make him proud. And he said, ‘Don’t be an actor; be a director. They have the power.’”
James additionally wrestled with demons by the overwhelming fame that “The Sopranos” introduced him.

According to GQ, when Marcy filed for divorce in 2002, her courtroom submitting “described [James’] increasingly serious issues with drugs and alcohol, as well as arguments during which the actor would repeatedly punch himself in the face out of frustration.”

As Bracco recalled, “Jimmy loved to do his work, he was great at what he did, but the whole success thing is weird. I don’t think he ever expected it in such a big way. He wasn’t really into the whole public thing, he hated going to all the awards, it was tortuous for him.”

He went on to marry Deborah, a mannequin, in 2008. Their daughter Liliana was born in 2012. Only eight months previous when James died, she is now an elementary-schooler residing together with her mom in Los Angeles, and, in accordance to Deborah, is shut to her brother.

“Jim just wanted his kids to always have each other, that was so important to him,” she advised The Post.

After his dad’s demise, Michael joined the excessive-college soccer workforce — however, finally, he couldn’t resist his true calling, performing.

 Donald Metzger, a James Gandolfini and Tony Soprano impersonator, poses for photos at the booth where the final scene of the final episode of the HBO show, "The Sopranos," was filmed.
Donald Metzger, a James Gandolfini and Tony Soprano impersonator, poses for images on the sales space the place the ultimate scene of the ultimate episode of the HBO present, “The Sopranos,” was filmed.
Getty Images

His first audition led to his first function — an element on the HBO collection “The Deuce,” co-starring  Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco.

“From the first day, I fell in love with [acting],” he has stated. “It actually started my grieving process with my dad.”

He filmed “The Many Saints of Newark” in 2019. It’s lastly being launched on Oct. 1 after being pushed again amid the pandemic.

When he landed the half, he had religion it wasn’t simply stunt casting. “I had this unspoken trust that David [Chase] wasn’t going to cast me if there was even a shred that this isn’t going to work,” he stated of the present’s creator, who co-produced and co-wrote the movie.

The film is an origin story as seen by means of the eyes of Tony’s uncle Dickie Moltisanti (performed by Alessandro Nivola), the daddy of the present’s Christopher (Michael Imperioli). Ray Liotta, Leslie Odom Jr., Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga additionally star within the movie, which Chase has stated makes use of the 1967 Newark riots — spurred by two Italian-American cops beating a black cab driver — as a plot framework.

Watching “The Sopranos” for analysis led to Michael having “crazy dreams,” he advised Esquire: “I had one where I auditioned for David and I looked down at my hands, and they were my dad’s hands.”

It was nearly surreal to see Michael within the [‘Many Saints of Newark’] trailer.

James Gandolfini’s widow, Deborah, on the late actor’s son

There had been additionally moments when it felt like his father was reaching out to him.
“[Tony] yells at A.J., and he gets a pizza to apologize, and he sits by his son’s bed and says, ‘I couldn’t ask for a better son,’” Michael stated. “I just knew he was talking to me in that scene.”

Michael, who’s quickly to announce a brand new venture, can be seemingly attempting to keep away from following an excessive amount of in his father’s footsteps.

Earlier this 12 months, he participated in on-line magazine Mr Feelgood’s “Who the F–k Are You” collection. “I have no clue who I am. I want to be a good human, mostly … I think who I am boils down to my actions,” Michael, who’s believed to be relationship former NYU classmate Ally Gorder, stated. “So, I’m a junior in college, an aspiring actor and a sober young man.”

He added: “I’m most proud of my sobriety.”

Celebrating his birthday in May 2020, Michael wrote on Instagram: “Being sober and in recovery these last few years is the greatest gift I could have on my 21st birthday. Thank you all for the incredible birthday wishes. My life is so beautiful because of my amazing family, friends, and community. I’m very, very lucky. Love you all.”

On Instagram, he regularly posts candy childhood images of himself along with his dad. On James’ birthday in 2019, he wrote: “Happy birthday goofball. Feel closer and further from you everyday, all at the same time. But will not ever stop feeling your love. Love you dad. Happy birthday.”

James’ widow believes that the late actor is a guardian angel for his youngsters. “I know he’s watching down on us and looking after us, like he always did,” she stated, including that James wished to train them one lesson: “No matter what happened, it is most important to be a good person.”

TravelGuides – What it’s like for James Gandolfini’s son Michael to play Tony Soprano



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