TONY FOUND —From Deadline: The Sopranos creator David Chase has found his Tony Soprano. Michael Gandolfini has been set to play the future New Jersey organized crime family boss in The Many Saints of Newark, the feature prequel to Chase’s groundbreaking TV series The Sopranos that Alan Taylor is directing.
He is the son of James Gandolfini, who originated the iconic role of Tony Soprano and won multiple Emmys, SAG Awards and a Golden Globe in an anti-hero role that made possible later bad guy turns like Bryan Cranston’s in Breaking Bad and future HBO series including Deadwood, Westworld and Game of Thrones. He died in 2013.
The late actor’s son has been gaining experience and had a breakout turn on the HBO drama series The Deuce. His resemblance to Tony Soprano is uncanny. The filmmakers engaged in an extensive audition process to find the young Tony before Gandolfini won the role. Insiders said that his screen presence, mastery of Tony’s mannerisms, coupled with his resemblance to the elder Gandolfini made him the standout choice for the role because no one there understood the character better, the insiders said.
He joins Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen and Corey Stoll in the ensemble drama that is set in the era of the 60’s Newark riots, when African Americans and Italians of that city were at each other’s throats. It was especially lethal among gangsters from each group. The story focuses on Dickie Moltisanti (Nivola), a mentor to young Tony as his own father, Johnny Boy, was grooming his son on a pathway to organized crime prominence. There are expected to be call-backs and shout-outs to numerous other series characters in the film, which is set in the earlier time period.
“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini said in a statement to Deadline. “I’m thrilled that I’m going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for The Many Saints of Newark.”
The Sopranos just celebrated the 20th anniversary of its launch and is widely regarded as one of the greatest drama series ever, running six seasons from 1999-2007 and winning 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globes and Peabody Awards for its first two seasons.
Creator David Chase wrote the feature script with series cohort Lawrence Konner.
Taylor directed nine Sopranos episodes, and has done episodes of Game of Thrones also and Thor: The Dark World. He won the Emmy in 2007 for The Sopranos episode “Kennedy and Heidi.”
ALL THE RIGHT DUDES — Mott the Hoople are returning to the U.S. for the first time in 45 years – and they’ll have three members of the band’s 1974 core lineup.
Frontman Ian Hunter, guitarist Ariel Bender and keyboardist Morgan Fisher will lead the group through eight theater dates, all in April.
Re-branded as Mott the Hoople ’74, the band also includes multi-instrumentalist James Mastro, guitarist Mark Bosch, bassist Paul Page, keyboardist Dennis Dibrizzi and drummer Steve Holley. Tickets go on sale Friday. See a list of dates, cities and venues below.
Mott the Hoople last toured the States in support of 1974’s The Hoople, which featured a pair of Top 20 U.K. hits in “The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Roll Away the Stone.” Queen served as their opening act on those dates, and Brian May and Roger Taylor have both reportedly credited Mott’s theatrics with inspiring their own concert approach.
A performance at the New York City’s Uris Theater in 1974, said to be the first by a rock band at a Broadway venue, was later featured in a concert recording simply titled Live. Hunter’s memoir Diary of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star arrived in 1974, as well.
Holley, a former member of Wings, also joined Mott the Hoople for a string of European festival dates last year, along with Bender and Fisher. Original Mott the Hoople members Pete Overend Watts and Dale “Buffin” Griffin died in 2017 and 2016, respectively. Guitarist Mick Ralphs stopped performing after suffering a stroke in 2016.
Mott the Hoople ’74 U.S. Tour:
4/1 – Milwaukee, WI, Miller High Life Theatre
4/2 – Minneapolis, MN, First Avenue
4/3 – Chicago, IL, Chicago Theatre
4/5 – Detroit, MI, The Fillmore
4/6 – Cleveland, OH, Masonic
4/8 – Glenside, PA, Keswick Theatre
4/9 – Boston, MA, Orpheum Theatre
4/10 – New York, NY, Beacon Theatre
SHORT TAKES — Micky Dolenz and Dwight Yoakam at L.A.’s Troubadour last night for a show with Michael Nesmith. Their Mike and Micky tour resumes in March. Here’s a shot of Dolenz with Rita Carrey (Jim’s sister); Coco Dolenz; and, Rita’s on-air partner, Pete Dychtiar, from Ontario last week … Touched base this week –after a multi-decade break- with Brit-Adam White; who used to run Billboard Magazine back in the day, when it really meant something. Adam wrote the book on Motown’s legendary Barney Ales – now out in paperback in the U.K. and released here in the U.S. next month. Adam added his book was translated into six languages. … adding “the world still loves Motown.” Check out his blog at www.adampwhite.com. Good man … Fleetwood Mac resumes their World Tour January 31 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Haven’t heard much on that tour. Has it been a bust without Lindsey Buckingham? Again , I predict the band will reunite with Lindsey and do one final World Tour next year. Stay tuned … SIGHTING: PR-pasha David Salidor chatting with legendary journalist Carl Bernstein at the Time Warner Center in midtown.
NAMES IN THE NEWS — William Schill; Arnold Angrist; Richard Falk; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Andrew Sandoval; Wayne Avers; John Billings; Rich Dart; Dave Alexander; Alex Pedersen; Keith Girard; Mark Bego; Howard Bloom; and, CFS.