EXCLUSIVE: David Chase is finally ready to return to the New Jersey turf of his iconic creation The Sopranos. New Line has purchased the screenplay The Many Saints of Newark, the working title for a feature prequel of The Sopranos that is set in the era of the Newark riots in the 60s. That was a time when the African-Americans and the Italians of Newark were at each other’s throats, and amongst the gangsters of each group, those conflicts became especially lethal.
The script was written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, the prolific screen and television writer whose credits include The Sopranos.
Chase finally returning to expand The Sopranos lore will be welcome news to the legions who still feel that his HBO series is the greatest of all time. The groundbreaking show ran for six seasons from 1999 – 2007. It put HBO on the map, established the market for DVD sales of popular series, and won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and Peabody Awards for its first two seasons. It launched the stars of a slew of actors and revived others, most notably the late James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Steven Van Zandt, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa and on and on.
Some of the beloved characters from the series will appear in the film. I couldn’t get any more information about the plot, but the time period indicates there will be room for Tony Soprano’s father, Giovanni “Johnny Boy,” the former captain of the Soprano crew (played in flashbacks by Joseph Siravo), and a younger version of his wife Livia (played indelibly in the show’s first season by Nancy Marchand), and Tony’s uncle Junior, played by Chianese.
Chase will serve as producer as well as co-writer, and he will be involved in selecting a director.
This is a real coup for Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich.
“David is a masterful storyteller and we, along with our colleagues at HBO, are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film,” Emmerich said.
Chase’s last feature was the 2010 critically acclaimed Paramount film Not Fade Away. Chase Films’s Nicole Lambert will be executive producer.
Chase’s deal was made by his UTA agents Peter Benedek and Andrew Cannava, and attorney Michael Gendler of Gendler and Kelly. Konner is also repped by UTA.