Michael Gandolfini, 20, will play a young Tony Soprano in the upcoming movie prequel The Many Saints of Newark

By Eric Todisco
February 27, 2020 04:23 PM
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Jamie-Lynn Sigler has nothing but love for her late TV dad James Gandolfini and his real-life son Michael.

The actress, who starred on The Sopranos as Tony Soprano’s daughter Meadow, stopped by PEOPLE Now on Thursday and recounted her positive experience working with James — who died at 51 years old in 2013 — on the award-winning HBO series.

“Jim was the type of person — I wasn’t easy to … open up, I didn’t open up in my 20s because I had so much going on privately, and he was just that person that knew me so well and just knew the right way to go about it,” said Sigler, 38. “He would just come up and be like, ‘Are you okay?’ and I would just be like ‘No,’ and he could just bring me over and I could explain what was going on.”

“Not thinking he would do anything about it, and the next thing he would be having a phone call made or sending someone something or someone to make things better for me,” the actress recalled. “He was somebody that went out of his way to take care of people when he really didn’t need to.”

The Sopranos Jaime Lynn Sigler, James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Robert Iler

“That’s, to me, the best quality about him that people who didn’t get to know him should know,” Sigler added of James. “He was just an incredibly giving person.”

The actress also spoke highly of 20-year-old Michael, who is stepping into his dad’s role as a young Tony Soprano in the upcoming 2020 prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark.

“Look at his eyes, his soulful eyes. He’s got a beautiful heart,” Sigler said. “Oh my god, Michael has such a crazy, amazing career ahead of him and i just love that boy so much.”

Michael was only 14 when his father died at 51 years old of a heart attack during a family vacation in Rome. The tragic event led Michael to chase a career in acting.

Michael and James Gandolfini
Bauer-Griffin; HBO/Courtesy Everett Collection

The Many Saints of Newark will feature younger versions of the fan-favorite characters, set in 1960 Newark when the riots between Italian-Americans and African-Americans were at an all-time high.

“It’s a profound honor to continue my dad’s legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano,” Michael said in a statement after his casting was announced in January.

“I’m thrilled that I am going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled,” Michael added of the series creator.

The Many Saints of Newark will hit theaters on Sept. 25, 2020.