by Audrey Pavia and Randy Mastronicola
Decades ago, Ray Liotta established himself as a legend within the mob movie genre with his iconic portrayal of Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Fast forward to 2021, and Liotta has reestablished himself in the mobster genre, this time in David Chase’s The Many Saints of Newark.
Production began on the much-anticipated prequel to The Sopranos back in 2019, and the film was originally scheduled for release by Warner Brothers in the fall of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic interfered with that plan, forcing fans of The Sopranos to wait an entire year to find out David Chase’s vision of the Sopranos’ story before Tony took charge.
Although The Many Saints of Newark is subtitled “A Sopranos Story,” the movie will go down in film history as a great gangster flick independent of the landmark television series. Many Saints has everything you’d expect to find in a mob movie, along with incredible performances and an amazing script layered with the kind of depth you expect from David Chase.
Liotta stars alongside Alessandro Nivola, who plays Dickie Moltisanti, father of Christopher Moltisanti from the TV series; Michael Gandolfini, real-life son of James Gandolfini, who plays a young Tony Soprano; Vera Farmiga who plays Livia Soprano; and Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano. Fans of the TV series will not be disappointed by this casting, finding it takes no effort to accept that any of the characters in Many Saints are just younger versions of the players we knew from the series.
The characters in Many Saints are depicted navigating the tumultuous times where the mob world meets societal upheaval. The 1967 Newark riots are the backdrop and catalyst for much of the action. Many Saints resonates because it uses an organized crime story as a launching pad to illuminate viewers about violence, race and familial tragedy.
We sat down with Ray Liotta to talk about his role in The Many Saints of Newark, which is scheduled to be released on October 1st of this year.