Michael Gandolfini shares the hardships of playing Tony Soprano!

American actor Michael Gandolfini, popularly known for his debut appearance in the movie Ocean’s 8, is all set to take over the screen in 2021 with the upcoming movie “The Many Saints of Newark.” As exciting as it seems, Michael had his own hardships of playing the role to Tony Soprano, which was once played by his father.

Michael Gandolfini is playing the role of Tony Soprano in The Many Saints of Newark, which is scheduled to release on 1st October. It is a prequel to the popular crime drama series called “The Sopranos.”

However, playing Soprano was the biggest test for Gandolfini as the role was originally played by his father James Gandolfini, who, needless to say, aced the portrayal in the HBO television series. Though people appreciated Michael, who looks a lot like his father, to be cast as Tony Soprano. But it was quite intimidating for the 22-year-old actor.

Michael recently opened up about what he was feeling while playing the role that his father sued to play. Apparently, for Gandolfini, taking up the role of Tony Soprano was “the toughest decision” that the actor had to make.

While sitting with the Empire magazine for an interview, Michael admitted that playing Tony Soprano and taking his father’s place was “probably the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.”

Michael said, “You know, I didn’t want to put pressure on myself to walk out of this feeling like I’d grown in terms of my feelings towards my dad. I just wanted to be the best actor I could be, portraying Tony in the way David wanted, scene by scene. I didn’t think about my grief because… well, I would have sh** the bed.”

Michael lost his father James Gandolfini to a heart attack in 2013. Back then, 14-years-old Michael was with his father in Rome. Following James’ demise, Michael took the responsibility to take his father’s legacy ahead and took acting as his career path. Finally, Michael is all set to fill in his father’s shoes.

As per the reports, Michael actually sat down to watch the HBO crime series The Sopranos featuring his father, when he got selected to play Tony Soprano. He told Empire that he closely observed his father and became a close student of James’ performance. Moreover, even though he tried to be the Tony Sopranos that his father was, Michael still managed to bring his own take to the character.

Talking about his father’s portrayal of Tony Sopranos, Michael said, “My dad’s character had all this beautiful sensitivity underneath this aggression. This version of him is the reverse. His curiosity and sensitivity comes first. He’s not a gun-wielding gangster. He’s a kid who gets whittled down and pulled in.”

On the other hand, James’ Gandolfini’s widow Deborah Lin also shared an overwhelming statement about Michael taking ahead the legacy of his father. Back in July, when the trailer of The Many Saints of Newark was released, Lin had told The Post, ““It was almost surreal to see Michael in the trailer,”

Lin had further stated, “I know it took a lot of courage for him to take this role. It was very emotional. But the whole family is just so proud of him. His father would be very proud.”

As stated, Michael had not seen the HBO show until he got the role because James did not want his son to see the show, which was full of violence and aggression. Earlier, Michael had told during an interview that his father, “didn’t want me to see Tony Soprano—the violence, the angry, the mean. Of course I was on set and would visit him in his trailer, but I had never watched the show…. I never knew Tony Soprano. I only knew my dad … It was really hard to watch my dad.”

However, watching the show was extremely helpful for him to carry out the character in the prequel as actually got inspired by the once particular part of the show. It was when the mobster Tony meets the therapist Dr. Melfi, which was played by Bracco.

Michael said, “I recorded four hours of his monologues with Melfi and walked around New York with them constantly, constantly, constantly playing in my ear.”

The good thing is, not only the fans, but the creators of the film and James’ cast-mates from The Sopranos are also appreciating Michael as Tony Sopranos. Dr. Melfi, aka Bracco, wants James’ kid to succeed. In a statement to The Post, Bracco had said, “We want Michael to succeed and be happy with whatever he does.”

“He (Michael) has very big shoes to fill and I hope that people aren’t expecting too much, I want him to be his own man, his own actor … I don’t think we should really compare him to Jimmy,” continued Bracco. “He’s a smart, great kid. I don’t want to say that he reminds me of Jimmy — he is his own person. But Jimmy would be very proud of him, he would be thrilled.”

Michael is certainly making his father proud. He has been interested in acting since a young age and he really enjoyed performing. However, there was a time when James had advised his son to stay away from acting and choose some other career which was more powerful. James wanted Michael to pursue a career in sports or direction.

However, after the sudden demise of his father, Michael decided to follow his father’s passion of acting, which was his passion too. He completed his studies and began auditioning for acting opportunities. Finally, Gandolfini landed on the HBO drama series “The Deuce,” in which he played the role of Joey Dwyer. Subsequently, in 2019, he got selected to play Tony Sopranos in The Many Saints in Newark, which is now set to release next month.

Before The Many Saints in Newark, Gandolfini was previously seen in the Russo brothers crime drama “Cherry” starring Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo, Jack Reynor and others. This film by Anthony and Joe Russo was released in February 2021, in which Michael played cousin Joe.

Moreover, in the future, Michael will be seen in another Anthony and Joe Russo film titled “The Gray Man,” which is scheduled for 2022.  Other than that, Gandolfini is also a part of an upcoming film by the “Midsommar” director Ari Aster called “Disappointment Blvd.”

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