‘Sopranos’ Prequel: Michael Imperioli Reacts to ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ – Exclusive

The end of HBO’s legendary series The Sopranos left many fans wanting more. The cut to black as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” played has been a source of debate, just as creator David Chase intended. Chase wrote a Sopranos movie, but it won’t follow the series. The Many Saints of Newark is a prequel directed by Alan Taylor and starring Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen, Ray Liotta, Michael Gandolfini and more. Sopranos star Michael Imperioli is all for it.

Michael Imperioli | Mike Coppola/WireImage

Imperioli spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet today about his new movie Primal. In the action movie, Imperioli plays a NSA agent transporting a prisoner by sea when the prisoner breaks free, along with the wild animals in the ship’s cargo hold. We’ll have more on Primal next week before the film opens November 8, but Imperioli shared his thoughts on the Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark with us. 

Michael Imperioli thinks ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ won’t have ‘The Sopranos’ pressure

Any time you’re continuing a beloved show, the pressure is almost too much to live up to. You’ll never make every fan happy. By going back, Michael Imperioli thinks David Chase won’t face that pressure.

“The fact that David wrote it and is behind it gives me confidence that it’s going to be something really great,” Imperioli said. “I think it was a smart way to deal with anything Sopranos related for David, to make it something that really stands on its own. It’s not a direct continuation or an immediate prequel with the same characters.”

L-R: Tony Sirico, Steve Van Zandt, James Gandolfini, Michael Imperioli And Vincent Pastore in The Sopranos | Getty Images

Fans of The Sopranos may recognize the Soprano and Moltisanti families, but new viewers can just see an original movie. 

“It’s some of the same characters but way earlier versions of them,” Imperioli said. “So I think it’s a film and a world that’s going to be standing on its own rather than totally linked to The Sopranos which is good. If people can just have that experience, they’re not making a direct comparison.I have really high hopes for it.”

Michael Imperioli hopes baby Christopher is in ‘The Many Saints of Newark’

Michael Imperioli played Christopher Montisanti for six seasons. He hopes to see his character as a child in The Sopranos prequel. 

Michael Imperioli in The Sopranos
Michael Imperioli in The Sopranos | Getty Images

“It deals a lot with Christopher’s father,” Imperioli said. “I think there might even be a scene where Christopher’s born, or little Christopher as a toddler or something. I’m curious to see how that plays out, what it reveals about his child.”

Talking ‘The Sopranos’ brings back happy memories for Michael Imperioli

Whenever The Sopranos comes up, it’s not just Michael Imperioli’s signature role and best-known work. It also brings back fond memories of eight years of his life. 

Michael Imperioli and Drea De Matteo
Michael Imperioli & Drea De Matteo in The Sopranos | Anthony Neste/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

“The whole thing is a great memory,” Imperioli said. “To me, The Sopranos  was like walking down the street hanging out with your friends. A lot of those actors I knew from other jobs and the ones I didn’t, we very quickly bonded and became very, very close. It was really like a family every day. That’s very, very rare which I realized since that experience. That usually doesn’t happen.”