The Final Shot Of The Many Saints Of Newark Was A Reshoot Filmed Against A Green Screen [Exclusive]

"The Many Saints of Newark," the "Sopranos" prequel movie that's earned mostly mixed reviews (I liked it!), is currently streaming on HBO Max, and it's been there for a few weeks. With that in mind, I think anyone who wanted to see the movie likely watched it already, right? Still, I guess to be safe, I should tell you right here that there are spoilers in this story, so take caution.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about the final scene of "The Many Saints of Newark." The film follows a young Tony Soprano as he's mentored by his mobster uncle Dickie Moltisanti, and it ends with Dickie being murdered. That won't surprise "Sopranos" fans, since Dickie's murder was already mentioned on the show. But now we get to see how it happened, and we also get one final scene where Tony, attending Dickie's wake, imagines the dead man reaching his hand up so he and Tony can share a pinky swear – something they did once when Tony was younger. The implication is that this is the moment Tony truly decided to go into the criminal lifestyle to follow in Dickie's footsteps, something he wasn't entirely sure about throughout the course of the film. It's a pretty big scene, and it almost didn't happen. On top of that, it was shot entirely in front of a green screen, although you'd never know it while watching. /Film writer Jack Giroux interviewed "Many Saints" cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau and got the details. 

"It's a Complete Cheat"

Would you have guessed the final scene of "The Many Saints of Newark" is a green screen shot? I certainly wouldn't, but according to cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau, that's exactly what it is. Speaking with /Film, Morgenthau said:

"It was added almost a year later. Due to global pandemics and things like that, it was much, much later. The conversations about the mood and the lighting were established already in the first shoot, so we're rebuilding it for the reshoot. And it's a funeral home and it had a very Gordon Willis Godfather-y minimalist single source vibe. Once Alan saw what I was doing, that was end of conversation. It was build an atmosphere where it's a mob funeral in New Jersey in 1967. Go press that button and build that, come on. Make it happen. It was just instinctual, and it was a location, a real funeral home that we shot at originally. And then, the pinky rebuild was against green screen on a sound stage."

He added: "It's a complete cheat."

That clears things up a little bit: the entire scene wasn't done in front of a green screen, but a portion of it was. And it works pretty well! 

"I Think People Would Be Surprised"

This quote from Kramer Morgenthau coincides with something director Alan Taylor previously said, stating, "I think people would be surprised to know that some of these things came at the last second, that they weren't built-in." Taylor added: 

"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."

That's movie magic, folks! I do wish the reaction to "The Many Saints of Newark" had been a bit more positive than it ended up being, but that's the way the cookie crumbles, I guess. But I do think in a few years more folks will discover the film is better than its reputation might suggests.