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The Many Saints Of Newark's Alessandro Nivola on finding the soul of Dickie Moltisanti

Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr. and Michela de Rossi on life, death, and the Soprano way

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Michael Imperioli, Michaela de Rossi, and Alessandro Nivola in The Many Saints Of Newark
Michael Imperioli, Michaela de Rossi, and Alessandro Nivola in The Many Saints Of Newark
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema

In the new movie The Many Saints Of Newark, Alessandro Nivola plays Dickie Moltisanti, big time mob player and eventual father to Michael Imperioli’s Christopher Moltisanti. An oft-referenced character on The Sopranos, Dickie’s life was cut too short, something that [spoiler alert!] plays out over the course of The Many Saints Of Newark.

But how did Nivola build Moltisanti, a character that Sopranos heads “knew” in some sense, but had never actually met? The A.V. Club sat down with Nivola to find out.

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As Nivola tells us in the video above, Dickie is, “in a Greek tragic way, trying to evade his fate.” Nivola says that Sopranos creator David Chase “thinks about fate as your childhood... your character being formed by your early days.” Moltisanti had seen his mother repeatedly beaten by his father and grew up in rough and tumble circumstances, so how could he have turned out any differently?

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On the flip side, Nivola says Dickie also has “strange echoes in his head of longings to do something noble or unselfish,” something that plays out in his de facto parenting of Michael Gandolfini’s young Tony Soprano. “He’s doing a hopeless job of it,” says Nivola, but at least he’s trying.

Nivola is joined in the clip by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Michela de Rossi, who play one time Moltisanti soldier turned big time operator Harold McBrayer, and Moltisanti’s stepmother turned comare Giuseppina Bruno, respectively.

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The Many Saints Of Newark is in theaters and available to stream on HBO Max now. You can read our review of the movie right here, and check out our chats with director Alan Taylor and stars Michael Gandolfini, Vera Farmiga, and Jon Bernthal here and here, respectively.