‘Sopranos’ Prequel Movie Eyes Christopher Moltisanti’s Dad

Alessandro Nivola in talks to play Dickey Moltisanti in "The Many Saints of Newark," the 1960s-set film from 'Sopranos' creator David Chase.

David Chase
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Alessandro Nivola in talks to play Dickey Moltisanti in "The Many Saints of Newark," the 1960s-set film from 'Sopranos' creator David Chase.

Following the announcement back in March that David Chase, creator of The Sopranos, was working on a prequel movie for the series called The Many Saints of Newark, there’s finally some casting news for the project.

Alessandro Nivola, the American actor known for his parts in such movies as Face/Off, A Most Violent Year, and Disobedience, is in talks to star in The Many Saints of Newark as Dickey Moltisanti, The Hollywood Reporter and other trade publications reported Tuesday.

The character is the father of Christopher Moltisanti, played on The Sopranos by Michael Imperioli. Dickey had died prior to the events of The Sopranos and was never seen on the show, although he was referenced repeatedly, and in one fourth season episode, Christopher kills a man after he’s told the man had murdered his father. The Reporter story describes Dickey as “a charismatic but violent made man who falls in love with his father’s much younger bride, a recent immigrant from Italy.” The elder Moltisanti is also seen mentoring a young Tony Soprano, just as Tony would serve as a mentor for Christopher decades later.

Alessandro Nivola
  Rich Polk / Getty Images

The Many Saints of Newark is being written by Chase and will be directed by Alan Taylor, who directed many episodes of The Sopranos as well as Game of Thrones and the film Thor: The Dark World. Reports from when the project was first announced indicated that it is set in the late 1960s and would tell the story of a previous generation of the mob family depicted in the original series, while also covering racial tensions in relation to the 1967 Newark riots. The phrase “many saints”- an English translation of “Moltisanti”- indicated that Christopher’s family would be important to the plot.

The film represents not only David Chase’s return to The Sopranos but his first new project of any kind in years. Chase’s last credit was when he directed the movie Not Fade Away– also set in 1960s New Jersey- which came out in 2012.

It’s not known when Many Saints of Newark will start filming or when it might be released, and no additional casting has been announced. One thing Sopranos fans shouldn’t expect is a lot of answers to the various unsolved mysteries of the TV series. David Chase has never exactly been one for fan service and besides, it’s hard to answer questions about what happened to the Russian, or Tony’s fate in the diner, when the story is set in the ’60s.