Alessandro Nivola was shocked to learn that he was playing the lead role in 'The Many Saints of Newark'.

Alessandro Nivola

Alessandro Nivola

The 49-year-old star plays Dickie Moltisanti in the new movie, which serves as a prequel to the TV series 'The Sopranos', but was unaware that he was the star of the movie until he met the show's creator David Chase and director Alan Taylor.

Alessandro told Uproxx: "I mean, the funny thing was when I auditioned for the role, I didn't know. He'd only sent me five scenes from the movie. They were the five big, most climactic scenes of the film.

"Like a mime, I had to, in the privacy of my own bedroom, carry out ghoulish murders. But I didn't have the whole script. And so I didn't even realise that it was the lead of the movie when I first started taping these scenes.

"I thought the scenes were pretty good and that the character seemed pretty interesting, but I didn't really understand the stakes of the whole thing until after I'd met David and Alan."

Alessandro also explained how he realise the importance of the character when he was sent the full script when on a plane to Australia.

The 'Face/Off' star said: "And then I was on my way to the airport to go visit my wife (Emily Mortimer) in Australia, who was filming in Melbourne. And the script came through on my phone, and I got on the plane. And then I read it on the plane to Melbourne. And by the time I got there, the stakes had gone way up."