It looks like David Chase and New Line have found their first star for the “Sopranos” feature film.
Sources tell Variety that Alessandro Nivola is in negotiations to star as Dickey Moltisanti in “The Many Saints of Newark,” the prequel movie to the critically acclaimed and massively successful HBO TV series.
New Line could not be reached for comment on the casting.
In the series, Moltisanti is the deceased uncle of Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini, and father of Christopher Moltisanti, played by Michael Imperioli. In the show, the character never appears, as he was murdered prior to the drama’s timeline, but is talked about as someone who, along with Soprano’s father and Uncle Junior, helped turn their small gang into the New Jersey crime family that Soprano eventually heads.
Alan Taylor is directing from a script that series creator Chase penned along with Lawrence Konner. Chase is also producing the pic.
Plot details are vague other than it being set during the Newark riots in the ’60s. More players from the “Sopranos” lore are expected to be joining Nivola’s character.
The role could serve as a career breakthrough for Nivola, who has consistently been impressing critics in supporting roles. He is a nominee for best supporting actor at the upcoming British Independent Film Awards for his performance as Rabbi Dovid Kuperman opposite Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams in Sebastian Lelio’s feature “Disobedience.”
Nivola currently stars in Jaron Albertin’s indie feature “Weightless.” He will next be seen opposite Jesse Eisenberg in Riley Stearns’ martial arts satire “The Art of Self Defense,” which Bleecker Street has slated for a spring 2019 release, as well as the lead role in the upcoming Channel 4 U.K. limited series “Foreign Skies,” adapted by Lucy Kirkwood from her own Olivier Award-winning play “Chimerica.” He also stars opposite Chris Evans and Ben Kingsley in Gideon Raff’s true story political thriller “The Red Sea Diving Resort.”
Meanwhile, Nivola’s production company, King Bee, has a first-look television development deal with eOne Studios after producing two seasons of the HBO comedy “Doll & Em.” He also produced the feature “To Dust” starring Matthew Broderick and Geza Rohrig, which won both the audience award and the debut director award at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
He is repped by CAA and Management 360.