NEW YORK, October 1 (WNN) — William Ludwig admitted that playing the younger version of fictional New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano for his first major film job was a daunting task. Many Saints of Newarki.
Set to debut in theaters Friday and on HBO Max, the film’s prequel is the Sopranos, the Emmy-winning drama series that ran on HBO from 1997 to 2006.
The late James Gandolfini played the iconic role of Tony in his ’30s and ’40s on the show. Ludwig, 14, and Gandolfini’s son, Michael, 22, portray Tony as a young man and a teenager, respectively. Many Saints of Newarki.
“Honestly, it was a little scary at first because I had these big shoes to fill,” Ludwig told WNN in a recent phone interview.
“But Michael Gandolfini reached out to me the moment I booked the role and he started talking to me about how to play Tony and how he really is as a person and deep down, he’s really just an innocent. The person who wants to do the right thing.”
The two actors worked together, so their performance would seem like a natural evolution of the character from a neighborhood kid to a powerful don.
“Michael is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet,” Ludwig said. “He told me about some modus operandi, like how Tony’s nose and cheeks constrict when he talks. He talks with a little lisp.”
A dialect instructor helped Ludwig with his New Jersey accent and urged him to practice swearing at home to actually sound like Tony.
“My parents weren’t thrilled at all,” laughed Ludwig. “They were like: ‘Can you please stop doing this? We’re trying to do our job here.’ And I’m like, ‘This is my job too.'”
Directed by Alan Taylor, who directed episodes of the Sopranos, Many Saints of Newarki Title City of the 1960s and ’70s is set amid racial tensions between rival crime syndicates. It co-stars Alessandro Nivola, Jon Bernthal, Leslie Odom Jr., Vera Farmiga, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen and Ray Liotta.
According to Ludwig, Tony initially did not know what his family did for a living and simply idolized his uncle, Dickie Moltisanti (Nivola), as his own father, Johnny (Bernthal), for most of his childhood. were absent.
Ludwig said, “Dickie became really like Tony’s father, and Dicky taught him how to be a mobster, and Tony felt he needed to prove to Dickie that he should love him.”
“Tony is following in Dickey’s footsteps because he had no other guidance or any other direction. He felt the pressure in that mobster box,” Ludwig said. “It’s about Dickie Moltisanti and how he shaped Tony into the monster he is in the series.”
In an example of life imitating art, Nivola was Ludwig’s mentor on the film set, but in a good way.
“I learned a lot from watching how Alessandro got into the character,” the young actor recalled.
“Depending on the scene, he’ll either be depressed or overjoyed throughout the day,” he said. “He was such a nice guy from the start.”
Ludwig also enjoyed sharing the screen with Liotta, whom he described as a “legend of the mail” for his role in the 1990 film, goodfellas, in which he starred with many future sopranos Stars including Lorraine Bracco, Tony Darrow, Frank Vincent and Michael Imperioli.
“It was absolutely crazy for me,” Ludwig said of the stellar cast. Saints. “It’s so amazing to work with these awesome people, and it was really cool to see how all these creative minds came together.”
Since the Sopranos The year Ludwig was born didn’t air, he wasn’t part of the show’s original fan base, so he started the series with his real-life father to prepare for his audition.
Screening sessions helped them see Gandolfini’s distinctive ways of walking and talking.
“Sure, we omitted the big binge parts,” Ludwig joked, explaining how his father fast-forwarded age-inappropriate scenes at the strip club where most of the intelligent people on the show lived.
However, his mom and dad supported him when he tried out for the role.
“Both my parents found out when they found out it was The Sopranos movie because during the audition [notice,] It just said, ‘Untitled New Jersey Project,'” he said.
whereas sopranos What fans might be most eager to see SaintsLudwig insisted that one does not have to be a lover to love film.
Ludwig said, “It’s just a terrifying mob movie. It’s a film about family, and there’s action and there’s crime in it. There’s thrill in it.” “You can go in knowing nothing about the Sopranos And it’s still a really good time to watch this movie.”