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Michael Gandolfini Opens Up About Playing Tony Soprano & Healing After the Death of His Dad James

Michael Gandolfini is featured in Esquire‘s September 2019 issue, out now.

Here’s what the 19-year-old actor had to say…

On his father James Gandolfini not wanting Michael to become an actor: “As I got older, he wanted me to play sports. I felt that burden. I wanted to make him proud. And he said, ‘Don’t be an actor; be a director. They have the power.’”

On getting the call to audition for the Sopranos prequel, The Many Saints of Newark: “The funny thing is, before the audition, I had never watched a minute of The Sopranos. I was just a kid when he was making it. I would go to the set and ask him what it was about, and he’d say, ‘Oh, it’s about this guy who’s in the mob and kind of goes to therapy.’ The hardest part of this whole process was watching the show for the first time. It was an intense process. Because, as an actor, I had to watch this guy who created the role, to look for mannerisms, voice, all those things I would have to echo. But then I’d also be seeing my father. I think what made it so hard was I had to do it alone. I was just sitting alone in my dark apartment, watching my dad all the time.”

On the two moments from The Sopranos that resonate with him: “There’s a scene where Meadow comes home late at night, and he’s sitting with a drink, and he’s like, ‘You know I love you, right?’ That hit hard. The other one that crushed me was when he yells at A.J., and he gets a pizza to apologize, and he sits by his son’s bed and says, ‘I couldn’t ask for a better son.’ I just knew he was talking to me in that scene.”

On taking acting classes in order to help him heal: “From the first day, I fell in love with it. It actually started my grieving process with my dad.”

For more from Michael, head to Esquire.com.

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Jesse Eisenberg & Alessandro Nivola Attend 'The Art of Self-Defense' Screening in NYC

Jesse Eisenberg and Alessandro Nivola buddy up for a screening of their new movie The Art of Self-Defense on Thursday night (July 11) at the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn, New York.

The co-stars were joined by director Riley Stearns along with Michael Gandolfini as they stepped out to promote their new movie.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Jesse Eisenberg

The film centers on Casey (Eisenberg), who is attacked at random on the street and enlists in a local dojo led by a charismatic and mysterious Sensei (Nivola), in an effort to learn how to defend himself. What he uncovers is a sinister world of fraternity, violence and hypermasculinity and a woman (Imogen Poots) fighting for her place in it. Casey undertakes a journey, both frightening and darkly funny, that will place him squarely in the sights of his enigmatic new mentor.

The Art of Self-Defense
will be released on Friday, July 12 – watch the trailer here!

15+ pictures inside of the stars at the premiere…More Here! »

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Michael Gandolfini Films 'The Sopranos' Prequel with Co-Star Alexandra Intrator

Michael Gandolfini shares a laugh with co-star Alexandra Intrator as they sit on the front steps of a house on set of The Many Saints in Newark on Tuesday afternoon (May 31) in Queens, New York.

The co-stars were also joined by fellow cast mate Gabriella Piazza and director Alan Taylor as they spent the afternoon filming a parade scene for the upcoming The Sopranos prequel.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Michael Gandolfini

The film will be set in the 1960s and will showcase the deadly Newark riots that lead to the violence between rival Italian and African American gangsters.

The Many Saints of Newark is scheduled to be released on September 25, 2020.

10+ pictures inside of the cast on set…More Here! »

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Michael Gandolfini is Spitting Image of Dad James Filming 'The Sopranos' Prequel!

Michael Gandolfini has transformed into a young Tony Soprano for the upcoming The Sopranos prequel!

The 19-year-old son of the late James Gandolfini is taking on the younger version of his dad’s iconic character for the new movie The Many Saints of Newark and was spotted filming a few scenes on Monday afternoon (May 6) in a suburb of New York.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Michael Gandolfini

Michael was spotted sharing a laugh with The Sopranos creator and the movie’s writer/producer David Chase in between takes.

The Many Saints of Newark will be set in the 1960s and will showcase the deadly Newark riots that lead to the violence between rival Italian and African American gangsters.

James died suddenly in 2013 at the age of 51 while on vacation with his family in Italy. He won three Emmys, five SAG Awards, and one Golden Globe for his work on The Sopranos.

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James Gandolfini's Son Michael to Play Young Tony Soprano in Prequel Movie!

Michael Gandolfini, the son of the late actor James Gandolfini, is set to play a young Tony Soprano in the upcoming movie The Many Saints of Newark.

The film is a feature-length prequel to the HBO series The Sopranos, in which James played the titular character.

“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Michael, 19, 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.”

James died suddenly in 2013 at the age of 51 while on vacation with his family in Italy. He won three Emmys, five SAG Awards, and one Golden Globe for his work on the show.

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'Sopranos' Cast Reunite and Share Favorite Memories with James Gandolfini: 'He Was Really Special'

Edie Falco, Robert Iler and Jamie-Lynn Sigler flash a smile together on the red carpet while attending The Sopranos: 20th Anniversary Panel Discussion held at the SVA Theater on Wednesday (January 9) in New York City.

The three stars were joined at the event by their cast mates Maureen Van Zandt, Kathrine Narducci, Annabella Sciorra, Lorraine Bracco, John Ventimiglia, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese and Tony Sirico.

Also in attendance to show their support was the late James Gandolfini‘s son Michael, star of the upcoming The Sopranos prequel Alessandro Nivola, and producer Ilene S. Landress.

The Sopranos recently sat down with the Today show to share their favorite memories of working with the series’ lead actor, James Gandolfini, almost six years after he died unexpectedly of a heart attack – Watch below!

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