Michael Gandolfini prepared for his role as Tony Soprano by studying his father

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Michael Gandolfini takes on the iconic role of his father, Tony Soprano, in an upcoming prequel.

The 22-year-old actor will play a younger version of HBO’s crime boss in “The Many Saints of Newark,” a feature film that will be released on the cable network’s HBO Max streaming service in October.

The highly anticipated film comes about 14 years after the series finale of “The Sopranos,” which starred six-time Emmy-winner James Gandolfini in the lead role, according to Page Six.

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Michael Gandolfini plays a younger version of Tony Soprano in "The many saints of Newark," an upcoming HBO Max movie.  (BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM)
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Michael Gandolfini plays a younger version of Tony Soprano in “The Many Saints of Newark”, an upcoming HBO Max movie. (BAUER-GRIFFIN.COM)

James died of a heart attack six years after the crime drama concluded at the age of 51.

“I know it took a lot of courage for her to take on this role,” Michael’s stepmother Deborah Lin told The New York Post. “It was very emotional. But the whole family is so proud of him. His father would be very proud.”

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Prior to taking over from Tony Soprano, Michael had seven other acting credits dating back to 2015, including “Ocean’s Eight”, “The Deuce” and “Cherry”.

Most recently, the rising star graduated from New York University’s Tisch School Of The Arts, a film school dedicated to teaching the performing, film and media arts.

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According to a Vanity Fair profile, Michael had not originally planned to audition for the role of Tony Soprano when he first heard about it, but accepted it at the insistence of his manager. .

James Gandolfini played the role of Tony Soprano from 1999 to 2007 in the HBO Original Series, "The Sopranos." (AP Photo / HBO, Anthony Neste)

James Gandolfini played the role of Tony Soprano from 1999 to 2007 in the original HBO series, “The Sopranos”. (AP Photo / HBO, Anthony Neste)

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To prepare for the audition, he watched the first season of “The Sopranos” and recorded four hours of his father’s monologues.

“It was really hard watching my dad,” he told the magazine.

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After three months, Michael was offered the role. Tony Soprano’s origin story is directed by Alan Taylor, who worked on “Game of Thrones” and “Thor: The Dark World”.

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