According to Deadline, Michael will portray a younger version of Tony Soprano, the fictional crime boss originally played by his late father, James Gandolfini.
“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Gandolfini said in a statement to Deadline. “I’m thrilled that I’m going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for The Many Saints of Newark.”
The outlet reports Michael nabbed the role following an “extensive audition process.” The team behind the film ultimately chose the 19-year-old actor because of “his screen presence, mastery of Tony’s mannerisms,” and, of course, his resemblance to the iconic anti-hero. Michael joins a cast that includes Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen, and Corey Stoll.
Many Saints will be set during the Newark race riots of the 1960s, and will focus on Tony’s mentor Dickie Moltisanti (Nivola). The film will be direced by Alan Taylor, with a script by Sopranos creator David Chase and series writer Lawrence Konner. Nicole Lambert and Marcus Viscidi have signed on to executive produce.
James Gandolfini played the adult Tony throughout The Sopranos‘ eight-year run. He went on to win multiple awards for the role, including a Golden Globe and multiple Emmys. The actor died unexpectedly in 2013 at the age of 51.