"The Many Saints of Newark," the movie prequel to the HBO mob series "The Sopranos," filmed Tuesday at the Fairchild Sons Funeral Home in Garden City, with an additional day of shooting set for Wednesday.
"Starstruck? Come see the cast of The Saints of Newark as they film an episode in our backyard. Happening today and tomorrow," the adjacent restaurant smōk-hau̇s said on Facebook Tuesday, posting two photos of production vehicles on 12th Street and in the parking lot shared by both businesses.
"They're filming in the funeral home next door," said Manny Voumvourakis, 49, of Manhasset, the restaurant's owner-manager. "There's probably 250 people" including cast, crew and several extras, whom he saw "march from underneath the Sears parking lot in funeral attire as they were heading into the funeral home," referring to the now-closed department-store site on Franklin Avenue down from Fairchild Sons.
He said he was told that star Michael Gandolfini, the actor son of the late "Sopranos" star James Gandolfini, was on set. It was unclear if other cast-members of the New Line Cinema film, which also features Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Billy Magnussen and Corey Stoll, were shooting in Garden City.
Nassau County Film Office director Debra Markowitz said the production did not obtain a shooting permit and likely had not needed one. "It depends on the location," she said, giving no details other than the example of an indoor shoot at a private property. Representatives for New Line Cinema and for Fairchild Sons did not respond to Newsday requests for comment.
Smōk-hau̇s will do catering for the production on Wednesday, said Voumvourakis, a former Jefferies Financial Group derivatives trader who opened the restaurant in November. "We're going to feed 200-plus people," he said, with the menu including "smoked-meat sandwiches and our legendary smoked wings." The restaurant, which did not cater on Tuesday, will be open as usual.
Co-written by "Sopranos" creator David Chase and directed by multi-episode helmer Alan Taylor, the movie takes place during the 1960s race riots in Newark, New Jersey, with mobster Dickie Moltisanti (Alessandro Nivola) mentoring a young Tony Soprano (Michael Gandolfini).The movie is set for release in September 2020.
In the 1999-2007 series — which won 21 Emmys and was hailed as groundbreaking for its delving into the family life and inner dynamics of a nominally villainous character — James Gandolfini's Tony ran a New Jersey Mafia crew. For the role, he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2000, 2001 and 2003.