Michael Gandolfini is dishing what it was like to take on the iconic role of Tony Soprano after his father, James Gandolfini died.
The actor got candid in an interview with Esquire, about starring in The Many Saints of Newark as a young Tony. Michael was only 14-years-old when his father James passed away from a heart attack during a family vacation in Rome.
A friend suggested Michael take an acting class as a form of therapy in dealing with his father’s death. Not only did it help him grieve, but the young man fell in love with the craft.
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6 years is too long. Every year without you is. But I know you’re around. Miss you. More than anything. In this particular second it’s your laugh that I miss most. I love you so so much. We celebrate you today. Working hard to make you proud, I know you are, but I’ll never stop working at it. Love you dad
One day David Chase came to talk to the young actor about the role in The Sopranos prequel. However, the teenager had one major struggle with agreeing to audition for the part. Michael had never watched an episode of the HBO show.
“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 NYU student explained to Esquire.
Michael knew if he chose to take on the role, he would have to watch his father as Tony. It was the hardest part of the process for James’ son.
“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. 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,” he shared.
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I’m so honored to be included in the September issue of Esquire! Holy shit!!! Thank you so much for everyone who made this possible. I’m beyond honored to be apart of this incredible magazine. Esquire has conducted many interviews with my heroes which have inspired me greatly. To be involved in the Esquire legacy is so surreal. As the cool kids say, link in bio Photographer: Marco Grob @marcogrob Styling: Alfonso Fernandez Navas Editor: Eric Sullivan Editor-in-Chief: Michael Sebastian Groomer: Kumi Craig Casting: Randi Peck
The young man admitted watching countless hours of his father on television led him to experience some crazy dreams. However, there were times when watching The Sopranos led Michael to feel his father’s presence with 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.’ I just knew he was talking to me in that scene,” Michael revealed.
James Gandolfini’s son, Michael, has taken on the role of a young Tony Soprano. It has been therapeutic for him to step into the iconic role his dad played for years. The Many Saints of Newark will premiere on HBO in September 2020.