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‘Sopranos’ Stars Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli React to Prequel News and James Gandolfini’s Son Playing Tony (Exclusive)

Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli attend the 2019 Garden Of Laughs Comedy Benefit at Madison Square Garden on April 02, 2019 in New York City.Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

The new Tony Soprano will be welcomed with open arms! Steve Schirripa and Michael Imperioli, who played Bobby Bacala and Christopher Moltisanti, respectively, on The Sopranos, couldn’t be happier that James Gandolfini’s son, Michael, will be portraying a younger version of the famous mobster in the upcoming prequel.

Michael, 19, has the “sweetness and charisma” that his father had,” Imperioli, 53, told Us Weekly exclusively at the Garden of Laughs charity benefit at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, April 2. “He’s a big kid, too!”

Related: 'The Sopranos' Cast Remember James Gandolfini

Schirripa, who considers Michael one of his closest friends, was surprised with the Hero Award at the Garden of Laughs event – and Michael showed up to support him.

Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante, James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano and Tony Sirico as Paulie Walnuts star in HBO’s The Sopranos HBO

“He had worked and then he came out and hung out with me all night,” the Blue Bloods star, 60, told Us. “I think the fans are going to love seeing it and I think he’s going to do a great job. I really do. I’m sure he’s working very hard at it. Since Michael was a baby he was around the set all the time on The Sopranos. Everybody’s rooting for him and it’s going to be great!”

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Sopranos creator David Chase cowrote the new film, The Many Saints of Newark, which also stars Vera Farmiga, Ray Liotta and Billy Magnussen.

“I wish all of us were in it,” Imperioli said, noting that he’s sure Chase will do a great job. “I think it will be something special.”

The Sopranos aired on HBO for six seasons from 1999 to 2007 and won 21 Emmy Awards. In June 2013, James died of a heart attack at the age 51.

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The Many Saints of Newark is set to hit theaters in 2020.

With reporting by Lexi Ciccone

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