David Chase to explore Tony Soprano’s childhood in prequel

David Chase is going to explore Tony Soprano’s childhood in ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ prequel film.

The 73-year-old American screenwriter wrote HBO mafia series ‘The Sopranos’ – which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – and has now created a story which will explore the events prior to the show in which Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) is the head of an organised crime family.

Chase was "against" creating a spin-off for a "long time", but became interested in the idea when he explored the 1967 Newark riots which occurred when two Newark Police officers arrested and beat African American taxi driver John Smith and decided the real life event would provide the perfect backdrop for the plot.

Teasing the plot of the highly anticipated project, he told Deadline: "I was interested in Newark and life in Newark at that time. I used to go to down there every Saturday night for dinner with my grandparents. But the thing that interested me most was Tony’s boyhood. I was interested in exploring that.

"I was against [the movie] for a long time and I’m still very worried about it, but I became interested in Newark, where my parents came from, and where the riots took place. I was living in suburban New Jersey at the time that happened, and my girlfriend was working in downtown Newark. I was just interested in the whole Newark riot thing. I started thinking about those events and organised crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements."

‘The Many Saints of Newark’ will be set in the 60s as riots sweep through Newark, and tensions between African American and Italian residents boil over into violence, and Chase confessed that he wants to depict how "polished" the mafia was at that time.

He added: "It is going to depict when it was good. The mafia was very polished at that time, how they dressed and what they did. Those traditions were followed more loosely in the series. These weren’t guys who wore tracksuits, back then."

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