The Sopranos

Michael Cera’s Viral Tony Soprano Impression Came Late in ‘The Adults’ Development

A short clip of Michael Cera doing a rough impression of Tony Soprano has gone viral online – and many don’t know where it originated.

First things first, the impression is from Cera’s new movie The Adults by Dustin Guy Defa, the filmmaker behind Person to Person, and is one of many impressions Cera does throughout the 91-minute runtime.

“All due respect,” Cera says in the clip, using a vaguely Italian accent to imitate the role originated by James Gandolfini in the hit drama The Sopranos. “You got no fucking idea what it’s like being number one. Every decision you make affects every facet, every other fucking thing.”

Earlier this week, Complex Pop Culture shared the video on X (formerly known as Twitter) with a series of emojis, and has since garnered over 644.6K views and 7K likes.

In June, Decider asked Cera and Defa about how the impressions came to exist, ahead of the movie’s premiere at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival, and prior to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes.

Cera said the impressions came from Defa, who wrote and directed the movie. “I think it might have come from some childhood thing of his, but I’m not quite sure… It just appeared one day.”

Defa told a similar story – squashing any fantastical daydream that Cera was just dying to whip out his best Italian mobster accent. “It changed a lot. In the script, all the voices are written down – everything they say – but I didn’t know what they were gonna sound like.”

Photo: Complex Pop Culture/Twitter

He continued to give the backstory on Cera’s Marge Simpson impression, which is also done by his costar Hannah Gross. “We tried different things like Pee-Wee Herman, but Hannah couldn’t do it… So, we had to find something they both can do and Marge Simpson ended up being the character they could both impersonate.”

Defa and Cera previously collaborated on his 2017 drama Person to Person and when asked if hearing Cera do a Marge Simpson impression was a “dream” plotline, Defa said “Sort of… Michael is very good at impersonations.”

Photo: Variance Films

The filmmaker sought Cera for the movie which follows the actor as a reserved brother returning home to visit his two sisters and finding that they have grown increasingly distant following the death of their mother. Defa recalled “hoping something would come up that would make sense for him [Cera]” while penning an early version of the script.

In our interview with Cera, the lead actor opened up about the changes the script has undergone over the years which originally featured the movie’s central family as two brothers and a sister. “I’m very impressed by him as a writer that he can make such a left turn with a script and throw stuff away,” Cera said. “That was a very interesting process. It was like watching a tree grow.”

Variance Films will open The Adults will open in select theaters across the US on August 18.

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