‘Sopranos’ Creator Will Bring a Prequel to Movie Screens


David Chase in 2012, when his last film, “Not Fade Away,” was released. He will produce the “Sopranos” prequel and help choose a director.

Victoria Will/Invision, via Associated Press

David Chase will bring “The Sopranos” to movie theaters, Warner Bros. announced on Thursday.

But don’t expect him to explain the contentious ending to the celebrated mafia series he created, which ran on HBO from 1999 to 2007. Mr. Chase is going back to the beginning — way back, to the Newark riots in 1967, when Tony Soprano was still a boy.

“David is a masterful storyteller and we, along with our colleagues at HBO, are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film,” Toby Emmerich, chairman of the Warner Bros. Picture Group, said in a statement.

“The Many Saints of Newark,” as Mr. Chase’s prequel is tentatively called, will include some well-known characters from “The Sopranos,” according to the studio. Which ones? A spokeswoman wouldn’t elaborate.

Fans of the TV series may remember that Tony Soprano, its main character, was born in 1959. The prequel, which still has no cast, director or estimated release date, carries this official description: “A prequel to ‘The Sopranos’ set in the era of the Newark riots in the ’60s, when the African-Americans and the Italians of Newark were at each other’s throats, and when among the gangsters of each group, it became especially lethal.”

Mr. Chase, 72, will not direct the prequel, which will be made through Warner’s smaller New Line unit, although he will help select a director. Mr. Chase will produce the film and has already written the screenplay with Lawrence Konner, whose credits include “The Sopranos” and “Boardwalk Empire.” New Line was also responsible for bringing the HBO series “Sex and the City” to theaters with two films that collected a combined $704 million at the worldwide box office.

Mr. Chase’s last film, the 2012 coming-of-age story “Not Fade Away,” received strong reviews but fizzled at the box office, collecting less than $1 million in limited release in the United States.

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