Many Saints of Newark star hopes Sopranos prequel ‘doesn’t let fans down’

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Many Saints of Newark star John Magaro says playing the role of Silvio Dante 'was a huge weight on his shoulders'.

The actor, who previously starred in Netflix shows Orange Is the New Black and The Umbrella Academy, will play a younger version of the legendary character that Steven Van Zandt portrayed in the iconic HBO series, The Sopranos.

Silvio – aka Sil – was New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano's silent but violent second-in-command and managed strip club, Bada Bing.

Magaro told NME: “I will say that for those of us who had to play characters who were already established, that was a huge weight on our shoulders.

"We know how much those characters mean to people. I think everyone who plays those characters really does a service, and I hope the fans don’t feel let down by that.”

The new film, due to be released in September, will step back in time and give Sopranos fans a whole new glimpse into the lives of the characters we know and love.

Michael Gandolfini will play a young Tony Soprano – the character his father James became iconic for before his death in 2013 aged 51.

Revealing what else fans can expect from the film, Magaro said it will focus on Tony's roots, as well as the character Dickie Moltsanti – played by Alessandro Nivola – who is the father of Sopranos' character Christopher Moltisanti.

Magaro is also very close to Sopranos mastermind David Chase – who is directing Many Saints of Newark – and sees him as "a father figure"

He added: "I know it was hard for him to come back to the world of The Sopranos, but the script brings a lot of the dark humour, silliness and social political commentary of the show into this film.”

Meanwhile, Alessandro Nivola who plays Dickie Moltisanti said: “David Chase wrote me the role of a lifetime.

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"Far and away, filming this movie was the most exciting thing in my career so far. It’s an incredibly nuanced, violent, funny, charming, scary, morally confused person, and it was an absolute joy to play.

“I have really high hopes about the film. What David did was to tell an origin story of Tony Soprano through a character that was dead before the series and that is such a surprising way of going about it. And the late ’60s mob movie is the stuff of dreams. Everyone was at the top of their game."

And as we reported last week, Steven Van Zandt recently revealed how he almost played Tony in The Sopranos – but six savage words put a stop to it.

The musician, now 70, and show creator Chase went to TV network HBO where they were told: “Are you out of your minds?”

Steven had been asked by Chase to play the role of the iconic New Jersey mob boss – despite having never acted before.

And even Stevie, a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, was taken aback by the “ballsy move” and politely declined before then changing his mind.

He said: “David cast me as Tony and we go to HBO and HBO says to him ‘are you out of your minds, this guy has never acted and this is the biggest expense we’ve ever done'.

"So they wouldn’t let him cast me."

Steven later presented Chase with the character of Silvio Dante, Tony's consigliere.

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He also found out where gangster John Gotti, boss of the Gambino crime family, got his clothes made to complete Silvio's look, along with a very iconic wig.

Steven, whose wife Maureen also played his on-screen wife, said: "It was good timing as Gotti had just gone to jail so his tailor was available. I ended up getting him hired for The Sopranos.”

  • The Sopranos
  • James Gandolfini

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