Sopranos creator David Chase is returning to his hit HBO show with a prequel, according to a new report.

Deadline reports New Line has purchased Chase's screenplay for the film The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to the hit HBO show.

The film will be set around the time of the Newark riots in the 60s and will include characters who featured in the TV series, including Tony Soprano's father, Giovanni "Johnny Boy".

But one actor won't appear in the film, James Gandolfini, who died in 2013. He won three best actor Emmy awards for his role as Tony Soprano in the HBO show, which ran from 1999 to 2007.

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Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich said he was delighted to be involved.

"David is a masterful storyteller and we, along with our colleagues at HBO, are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film," he said.