Time travel by Alessandro Nivola “Soprano”


Arguably few roads are less charming than the ones that glisten west from the Lincoln Tunnel to the New Jersey Turnpike and onto Newark. (CO vibes!) Unless you’re a fan of “The Sopranos,” in which case this gray trail takes on a legendary quality. “We should play the song,” actor Alessandro Nivola said one morning, as his car drove past industrial chimneys in North Jersey, just as Tony Soprano does in the show’s opening credits. Nivola began to sing the first bars of the subject – Morning, Pistol – coarsely but with conviction.

Alessandro NivolaIllustration by João Fazenda

Nivola, forty-nine years old, wore jeans, a gray button-down, and a heavy silver bracelet. Next month, he’ll star in The Many Saints of Newark, a soprano co-written by the show’s author, David Chase, and directed by Alan Taylor. In the crime drama, set against the backdrop of the 1967 Newark race riots, Nivola plays Dickie Multisanti, Christopher’s father (a child in the film), and the mentor of young Tony (played by Michael Gandolfini, son of the late James Gandolfini, who starred in The series as the tormented mafia boss). Although Nivola is part Italian, his background is not Moltisanti-esque. “My grandfather who was a sculptor was originally from Sardinia, and he moved to New York in the 1940s,” Nivola said. “He and my grandmother lived a sort of bohemian presence in Greenwich Village, where my father was born, and it wasn’t exactly the sloppy streets of the outer boroughs.” Nivola’s father tried to hide his legacy: “At boarding school, he changed his name from Pietro to Pete.” He continued, “But by the time I was born, he had rediscovered his Italianate, and I was saddled with the most Italian names in history.”

To prepare for the role of Dickey, a mafia whose charisma hides a mixture of violent urges and tenderness, Nivola spent months with an accent coach. (“Almost everyone at this point can do the imitation of ‘good buddies, you know’–his voice slipped briefly into jabbajul Zone – “And I wanted to be more specific than that.”) He also worked with a coach. (“It was never mentioned in the movie, but I thought, like a lot of these guys, that Dicky might have been a boxer as a kid, and I changed my body a lot, to look more attractive.”) Culture, reading books about Newark, and exploring local attractions. Now he wanted to visit the Old First Ward Museum, a modest place located in the grounds of St. Lucy’s Church.

On his phone, Nivola pulled up a photo, taken on his previous visit, of a stained-glass window donated to Saint Lucy by Ritchie (shoe) Poiardo, the mid-century mob boss whose criminal family, David Chase once said, was singularly inspired by The Sopranos. loose. “Originally, Boot lived in Newark,” Nivola said. “Later, he moved to this amazing property in Livingston, having mysteriously earned a lot of money.” The church secretary approaches, after hearing about the new Nivola movie. “They filmed a scene from the show in my house – where Uncle Junior loses him, and he comes in his pajamas to a neighbor’s door to order ice cream,” she told him. “My son was really excited – they gave him a director’s chair.”

Bob Casella, the retired probation officer who is entrusted with the care of the museum, was not far behind. “Are you the son?” Asked.

“No, I play Dickie Multisanti,” Nivola said.

“Father came here once,” Casella continued unchecked. I told him, ‘Hello, Tony! And he laughed. I think he was doing research. Enter Nivola into the basement, where every inch of the wall is covered with photo projectors. “I call them concepts,” Casella said. “I’m not a coach. I don’t know, but that’s what I call them.” He began his first talk in the suite: wedding ceremonies (“I tell people, ‘You don’t need to be married in St. Lucy to get that wall, you just have to be one of the two from the suite!”), social clubs, holiday days, and do-groups. Whoop (“Here’s Pesci in one. He really paid his dues. Did you know he was a hairdresser?”). In a show featuring Boiardo’s photos, Cascella paused. He said, “I grew up with people like The Sopranos, and they were never looked at in any way. of forms.” “Most men do not bother anyone. They live in the same building, they move around. My mother was betting with a bookmaker – he was taking numbers from her! If you get money from them and don’t pay it back, what do you expect? It’s work! Cassella laughed, and Nivola faintly joined in. “Now, assassins, crazy men, that’s something different. Like what’s his name on the show. Ralphie? The one who killed his pregnant girlfriend.” (Horrific plot point from Season 3) “Now that was hazelnut. But most of the kids in this neighborhood, they could have been like Tony. Or they could be like me.” ♦

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