AceShowbiz - "The Sopranos" creator David Chase is searching for a child actor to portray a boyhood version of the late James Gandolfini's lead character in the forthcoming prequel movie.
Gandolfini starred as the show's lead, mob boss Tony Soprano, for six seasons until it wrapped for good in 2007, and although the actor tragically died in 2013, his onscreen alter ego will be brought back to life as a kid for Chase's film adaptation, "The Many Saints of Newark".
The movie will be set against the backdrop of the Newark, New Jersey race riots in 1967 and chronicle the tensions between members of the city's Italian and African-American crime families.
"Jurassic Park III" Alessandro Nivola was recently tapped to play Tony's mentor, Dickie Moltisanti, the father of Sopranos character Christopher Moltisanti, who was portrayed on TV by Michael Imperioli.
Dickie was frequently referenced on the mob drama, but his face was never seen.
Now Chase has confirmed a young Tony will be part of the storyline.
"The thing that interested me most was Tony's boyhood," Chase told Deadline. "I was interested in exploring that."
"The movie will deal with the tensions between the blacks and whites at the time, and Tony Soprano will be part of this, but as a kid," he added.
Casting information has yet to be released, but during a flashback scene in the original run of "The Sopranos", actor Bobby Borriello played a child version of Tony.
The movie update emerges just before the 20th anniversary of the series' debut, and Chase admits he's still a little hesitant about taking one of his most loved shows to the big screen.
"I'm still very worried about it, but I became interested in Newark, where my parents came from, and where the riots took place...," he shared. "I started thinking about those events and organised crime, and I just got interested in mixing those two elements."
Chase reteamed with fellow show writer Lawrence Konner to pen "The Many Saints of Newark", which will be directed Alan Taylor, who previously took charge of a number of "The Sopranos" episodes.
Production is set to begin later this year.