Michael Gandolfini on stepping into his father’s shoes for ‘Sopranos’ movie

Michael Gandolfini is ready to continue his father’s legacy.

The actor, son of late The Sopranos star James Gandolfini, is playing a young Tony Soprano in the upcoming movie prequel The Many Saints of Newark.

Gandolfini is featured in the new issue of Esquire, and he opened up about taking on the iconic role and how his father actually encouraged him to get into directing, not acting.

“As I got older, he wanted me to play sports. I felt that burden,” the 19-year-old recalled. “I wanted to make him proud. And he said, ‘Don’t be an actor; be a director. They have the power.’”

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Michael Gandolfini opens up to Esquire about the ‘difficult’ decision to step into his father’s role of Tony Soprano. (Link in bio.) 📷: @marcogrob

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Gandolfini also spoke about going in to audition for The Many Saints of Newark and made a surprising confession.

“The funny thing is, before the audition, I had never watched a minute of The Sopranos,” he revealed. “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,” he continued. “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.”

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