It’s been over a decade since the finale of The Sopranos aired, but now fans of HBO’s once flagship series have more to look forward to! According to Deadline, New Line Cinema has purchased the screenplay The Many Saints of Newark, the working title for a Sopranos prequel. And who better to be attached than the show’s creator and head writer David Chase?
The Sopranos followed Tony Soprano (played by the late, great James Gandolfini), an Italian American mobster living in New Jersey, as he struggled to balance home life with crime life. The series reigned supreme during its run from 1999 to 2007, ushering in the current "golden age of television" and putting HBO on everyone’s radar. In 2013, it topped both TV Guide and Writers Guild of America’s lists of the best television series of all-time.
Chase has penned the prequel’s script along with Lawrence Konner, a writer on both The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. It is set in the ‘60s during the Newark riots when many African-Americans and Italian Americans were feuding. Just imagine how much worse the conflict grew between the gangsters on each side. There should be ample drama to underline along the way. While we don’t anticipate seeing much of Tony (maybe in a child cameo?), there is reason to suspect his father, Giovanni “Johnny Boy,” and other Sopranos could have a role to play in the proceedings.
In addition to being co-writer, Chase will produce the film and be involved in selecting a director, a notion that already has me daydreaming of possibilities. Of course, Martin Scorsese comes immediately to mind; the veteran filmmaker even shows up in the show’s second episode, “46 Long.” But if that dream doesn’t come true there is a stable of more than capable directors from show’s six seasons to pull from, including Steve Buscemi and Peter Bogdanovich. Whomever they decide upon, my concerns are assuaged by Chase’s close involvement.
“David is a masterful storyteller,” said Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros Pictures Group. “We, along with our colleagues at HBO, are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film.”
No word yet on a release date for The Many Saints of Newark, but for those of us who haven’t started or finished the acclaimed series, now would be a good time to start! You can buy the entire series on FandangoNOW.