The Opening Scene Of The Many Saints Of Newark Was Added In Reshoots

Spoilers for "The Many Saints of Newark" and "The Sopranos" follow.

The new "Sopranos" prequel movie "The Many Saints of Newark" is now playing in theaters and on HBO Max (and I really liked it!). The film opens with something of a big spoiler if you've yet to finish "The Sopranos" – we move through a graveyard until we come upon the grave of Christopher Moltisanti, son of main "Many Saints" character Dickie Moltisanti. 

It's a neat little sequence that sets the doomed tone for the film – as the camera passes one tombstone after another we hear the ghosts of the people within those graves talking to seemingly no one, narrating their own stories. The same is true when we get to Christopher's grave, as "Sopranos" actor Michael Imperioli provides us with some voice over work for his deceased character. 

Believe it or not, even though this is the very first thing we see in the movie, this opening wasn't originally in "The Many Saints of Newark." Instead, director Alan Taylor revealed to /Film that this was a moment added during reshoots of the film, and didn't come together until almost the very last minute. And the same goes for one of the film's final scenes, too. 

"I Think People Would Be Surprised"

During an interview with /Film writer Jack Giroux, "The Many Saints of Newark" director Alan Taylor revealed that some pretty big moments from the "Sopranos" prequel weren't even originally in the movie. "It's funny, because we started shooting and we had a completed script," Taylor said. "But I think David [Chase] was still a bit itchy about it and didn't feel like he'd resolved some things. And then, the fact that we had to shut down for a bit, and had to pause, gave him time to think. He added not that much, a handful of things that actually made a big difference in terms of shaping the whole experience of the movie."

So what got added? The film's opening scene, for one thing – a rather spooky scene set in a graveyard, featuring ghostly voices. Here's what Taylor had to say: 

"I think people would be surprised to know that some of these things came at the last second, that they weren't built-in. The way the movie starts is one of them, being in the cemetery and hearing people speaking, that way into the movie."

I'm glad this scene made it into the film, because I enjoyed how unexpected it was. When I sat down to watch a "Sopranos" prequel movie the last thing I was expecting was an opening scene featuring ghosts rambling on from their graves. It's such an interesting, different approach to a mob movie, and I'm happy we got it in the end. 

"I Could Tell He Was a Lot Happier"

The opening scene wasn't the only moment that was added to "The Many Saints of Newark." According to Taylor, the film's closing scene was a later addition as well: 

"There's a scene towards the end that echoes an earlier moment between Tony and Dickie. That was, again, added as part of the adjustments, partway through shooting. So we didn't reshoot anything. He just found some things to add because he had that time to reflect, I think."

I'm guessing the scene in question is the one where young Tony Soprano attends the funeral of Dickie Moltisanti, and imagines Dickie reaching his dead hand up so he and Tony can share a pinky swear – something they do earlier in the film. This, too, is a neat addition, and I'm glad David Chase came up with it. And according to Taylor, so was David Chase: 

"I could tell he was a lot happier with what we were getting once he put those things in place. He and I still argue about some things. He cut two scenes I didn't want to cut. The ending is something he and I have argued about. For the most part, it was a great collaboration and I felt he was really listening to me. But when it came down to something really concrete, like we disagreed, it's pretty clear who's going to win."

I know reviews of "The Many Saints of Newark" are a bit mixed, and the box office returns weren't great. But I really do think this film is better than its reputation might currently suggest, and I hope it finds its audience, if not now, then at some point.