Actor Ray Liotta has signed on to star in The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, reported Deadline. The actor is best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in the film Goodfellas, so this return to his mob movie roots is a real treat for film fans who are eagerly awaiting how the actor will fit into the origin stories of their beloved Sopranos lead characters.
Liotta will join a cast that is already in place, including Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen, Corey Stoll, and Michael Gandolfini. In an ironic twist, Michael Gandolfini will play a young Tony Soprano in the film, a role that was originated by his father, the late James Gandolfini, on the hit HBO show.
David Chase, who wrote and produced The Sopranos, which aired for six seasons between 1999 and 2007, will also helm this film.
“I am thrilled to be working with David Chase and Alan Taylor on The Many Saints of Newark,” Liotta said, reported Deadline. “David’s talent is unmatched and the directing of Alan Taylor makes this even more exciting. I respect them both immensely and look forward to making this special project with New Line.”
Deadline further noted that by using Liotta, Chase continues his tradition of hiring many of the stars from Goodfellas for The Sopranos, including Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Frank Vincent, and Tony Sirico.
Inquisitr previously reported that the prequel will take place in the 1960s during the Newark, New Jersey, riots. The New York Times recalled the tragic unrest of the era. The outlet reported that violence began on July 12, 1967, and ended on July 17, and it was a time of simmering social and racial tensions that finally exploded into violent standoffs between Newark citizens and police. Newark was affected, as well as the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles, Harlem, Detroit, and Plainfield, New Jersey.
The New York Times report revealed just how deadly the riots were; 26 people were killed, many of them black residents of Newark, as well as a white firefighter and police detective. More than 700 people were also injured.
The Many Saints of Newark will detail just how a young Tony Soprano entered the underground world of crime during that tumultuous period of time, revealed Deadline.
The Sopranos official HBO site offered a brief description of the series.
“Tony Soprano: husband, father and mob boss whose professional and private strains land him in the office of his therapist.”
Fans of the show know there is much more to the show than that. Tony Soprano was the glue that held a core cast of central characters together, and the conflicts that he dealt with splintered into some of the most compelling television ever created.
New Line Cinema is looking for a spring start date for production of the film.