Nancy Marchand brought life to Tony’s mom Livia in The Sopranos, but Vera Farmiga steps into the role for The Many Saints of Newark. The film gives the audience a peek inside Tony Soprano’s family and the interconnectedness of Dickie Moltisanti and the DiMeo crime family. For Farmiga, she enjoyed her character so much that she sees the potential for a sequel and wouldn’t mind reprising her role.
Vera Farmiga would love a part 2 for ‘The Many Saints of Newark’
It is not on the books, and there has been no discussion on a sequel for The Many Saints of Newark. But Farmiga is hopeful that there’s an opportunity for creator David Chase to continue the story. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she spoke about Johnny and Livia Soprano’s marriage and what it was like working with Jon Bernthal.
Based on the version of Livia fans have seen in The Sopranos, Farmiga feels there is more to her and Johnny Boy’s backstory. Love, emotional damage, abuse… the couple’s dynamics were interesting. Viewers see part of that in The Many Saints of Newark, but why not keep it going?
“But Johnny and Livia are an unfinished symphony. I want more of Jonny Bernthal. He is like fresh-cut grass to me. A shot of chlorophyll,” Farmiga said.
“He and I need more to do next time around. I hope there’s a Many Saints of Newark 2. Honestly, it would be my heart’s delight if they would just do a prequel series. That would be my absolute dream. I’m not ready to let this character go, and with an actor like Jonny, who is such pure joy to be in a scene with, I feel it’s just the beginning.”
Farmiga never watched the show before ‘Many Saints’ role
Farmiga shared that she auditioned for The Sopranos during its season 4 run. It didn’t pan out, and on a personal level, she’d never seen the show. But Chase was familiar with her work all these years later. To prepare for her Many Saints meeting with him, Farmiga did not binge watch every season of The Sopranos. Instead, she took a crash course on Marchand’s Livia — via YouTube.
“I didn’t watch the entire series until after my meeting with David. I divulged that [to him]. What I did watch was a YouTube compilation of Nancy Marchand scenes,” Farmiga told Rolling Stone. “It’s epic! Nancy Marchand is epic! We talked about the excellence of Nancy Marchand, we talked about my family, about my Irvington, New Jersey, upbringing. We immediately connected.”
After landing the role of Livia, she studied the YouTube video again and binged on The Sopranos. Part of Farmiga felt intimidated by Marchand’s grand performance, but she vowed to honor it. Onscreen, Farmiga handled Livia with a certain sincerity and tenderness because she knew she was playing a character based on Chase’s own mother.
Fans may find Livia likable in the film
Farmiga heaped praise on Michael Gandolfini for his work in The Many Saints of Newark — on and off screen. As Tony’s mother, she hopes that people will find aspects of Livia that are endearing. Fans of the original show know how Livia behaved toward her family and what her personality was like, but Farmiga wants to remind viewers that the movie takes us back in time. She’s a different kind of Livia.
Watch The Many Saints of Newark in theaters or on HBO Max when it arrives on Oct. 1.
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