‘Sopranos’ Prequel Bringing Aboard a Star From ‘Umbrella Academy’

With the Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark set to begin shooting in April, David Chase and his team have begun filling out the cast. In late February, Goodfellas star and Newark native Ray Liotta signed on to the project, bringing a veteran gangster actor aboard.

That added to a cast that already included The Punisher’s Jon Bernthal, Alessanro Nivola as Dickey Moltisanti, and Billy Magnussen from Get Shorty. From the actors picked for the film so far, we’re seeing a lot of New York and New Jersey natives in the mix.

For its latest casting, Deadline reported Chase went with another actor with an Italian name: John Magaro, who’s currently appearing in Umbrella Academy on Netflix.

Magaro might not have the gangster-film background of Liotta or Berthal, but the 36-year-old actor brings a wealth of experience from over 35 acting credits (including one with Chase). Here’s a look at how Magaro fits into the production.

Magaro’s past work with ‘Sopranos’ creator David Chase

Jack Huston, David Chase, Bella Heathcote, John Magaro and Steven Van Zandt attend a screening of “Not Fade Away” on October 7, 2012. | Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Most fans will know Magaro from his TV work, including his role as Vince Muccio in Orange Is the New Black. However, he has many film credits to his name. In 2018, he appeared in Overlord, and a year earlier in War Machine starring Brad Pitt.

However, one of Magaro’s biggest film roles came in Not Fade Away (2012), David Chase’s directorial debut. Magaro plays the lead in a picture that also featured Sopranos star Jame Gandolfini. Clearly, Chase liked what he saw from Magaro on that project.

Another big role came in the Adam McKay hit, The Big Short (2015). With the rest of the ensemble cast, Magaro received a SAG Award nomination for best acting for the film. Since then, he’s had steady work. But Magaro also brings a theater background to the table.

Magaro’s Italian roots and Midwest background

John Magaro attends the “Sully” New York Premiere at Alice Tully Hall on September 6, 2016 in New York City. | Matthew Eisman/Getty Images

According to his bio, Magaro has an Italian father, but he differs from much of the Many Saints cast in that he has Midwestern roots. (He was born and raised in Ohio.) But he has done New York theater in recent years. In 2016, he worked alongside Nathan Lane in a revival of The Front Page.

Another role in a major production came in 2017’s Illyria downtown at the Public Theater. (He played Joseph Papp, after whom the theater is named.) With so many solid acting credits to his name, Magaro doesn’t need to explain to anyone why he belongs in the Sopranos prequel.

Of course, since there is no word which role he’ll play, we’ll have to play a bit of casting director and guess. Based on his look and past roles, we would expect to see him among the Soprano or Moltisanti crew in the film. More information should become available next month when the shoot begins.

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