Alessandro Nivola had never watched ‘The Sopranos’ before auditioning for ‘The Many Saints of Newark’.
The 49-year-old actor plays Dickie Moltisanti in the new film, which serves as a prequel to the acclaimed TV series, but admits that he had no prior knowledge of the show.
Alessandro told the I newspaper: “I hadn’t watched the show until they asked me to audition for the role. I was aware of the show being a catalyst to usher in a new era of cultural relevance for television, and to blow wide open the possibilities for what a television series could be.”
The ‘Jurassic Park III’ star also revealed that ‘The Sopranos’ creator David Chase told him to ignore the reference to his character during the series.
Alessandro said: “But when I started doing my preparation for the role, (the writer) David Chase said to me: ‘Don’t pay any attention to anything anybody on the show said about Dickie Moltisanti, because they’re all liars.”
The movie – which is set in New Jersey during the 1960s and 1970s – also features Ray Liotta as ‘Hollywood’ Dick Moltisanti, the father of Alessandro’s character, and the actor felt a mixture of excitement and fear before working with the ‘Goodfellas’ star.
He explained: “Ray was the one I was most excited to work with in the cast, and also most scared of.
“First of all, he was really from Newark and probably had the closest experience to the world of the film of any of us. And also because he takes acting very seriously. He’s extremely committed to it.
“I was really nervous, but two weeks into shooting, he sent me a text telling me that I reminded him of himself as Henry Hill (in ‘Goodfellas’). That was just the greatest affirmation I could ever have asked for.”