'The Sopranos' prequel movie is going ahead, Steven Van Zandt has revealed.

The HBO drama about a Mafia family in New Jersey kicked off the box set viewing phenomenon in the 2000s but plans to make more episodes had to be shelved due to the death of actor James Gandolfini, who played Mob boss Tony Soprano.

Rumours have been rife that a story set before Tony's time was coming to the big screen and now Van Zandt - who portrayed Tony's right hand man Silvio Dante - has confirmed that creator David Chase is making a movie set 30 years before the start of the show, which, disappointingly for him, means he can't be in it.

In an interview with BANG Showbiz, he said: ''There has been talk about doing a 'Sopranos' prequel movie, and it looks like David Chase is going to do it. But I wouldn't be in that obviously because it would be set 20 or 30 years earlier than our time. I think it will be a very interesting movie, I wish I could be in it! But I believe that the movie is actually going to happen soon.''

The movie is tentatively called 'The Many Saints of Newark' and would feature characters referenced in the original series such as Uncle Junior and Tony's father Johnny Boy Soprano.

Van Zandt - who away from acting is Bruce Springsteen's guitarist in the E Street Band - can never escape his 'Sopranos' fame and he is regularly asked to talk like Silvio when's out.

The 67-year-old musician - who has just completed a European tour with his group Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul - said: ''I get requests now and then to do Silvio by fans, I just say, 'That's a different guy, that ain't me.' I don't mind, I'm just glad that people appreciate the show and what I brought to it.''

One thing that Van Zandt is certain of is that 'The Sopranos' will never be remade because there's no need as the original show is finding new viewers all the time due to streamlining services.

He added: ''I don't think it'll ever be remade, because with HBO on Demand it lives on and people are discovering it all the time.''