NEW YORK â€” John Travolta says his upcoming performance as an infamous New York mafia boss will offer audiences a movie they can't refuse.
The star, set to play late Gambino crime family boss John Gotti joined director Nick Cassavetes and Gotti's son John "Junior" Gotti to reveal details about the film "Gotti: Three Generations."
"This is probably the most interesting untold story in this country. What a character to approach!" Travolta told a press conference in New York, where the film will be shot later this year.
Travolta, wearing a green tie and his hair close-cropped, said that Gotti who died in prison in 2002, was an old school mafioso who lived by "a moral code."
In his long and bloody career as head of one of the historic five New York Italian mafia families, Gotti won public sympathy for his stylish appearance and wit. He was known as the "Dapper Don" and also the "Teflon Don" for his longtime ability to beat federal prosecutors in court.
"I like the glamour he had," Travolta said. "He charmed the press, he charmed his family."
The dark side, Travolta said, included "the paranoia, the fear, the putting the family at risk."
To research the part, Travolta plans to study as much original video footage as possible and to "understand how a syndicate like this works."
Pointing into the hotel room where journalists crammed in with dozens of Gotti family members and associates, Travolta said "there's a plethora of knowledge here that I tap."
John "Junior," who himself has beaten four federal prosecutions on racketeering, murder and mob charges, said he wanted his father to be portrayed fairly.
When a reporter asked how families of people killed, injured, robbed or otherwise victimized during Gotti senior's reign would feel about the Hollywood treatment, the younger Gotti snapped: "In this script, everybody's a victim."
Film reps would not reveal who is being cast to play Gotti's son. Although not as flamboyant as his father, he also sports the dapper look and turned up to the press conference in a grey suit and open-necked shirt.
The film, due for release in 2012, will co-star Joe Pesci as Gotti's deputy Angelo Ruggiero, and possibly also troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan, who attended the press conference alongside a row of bejeweled Gotti family members.
"I'm in talks to have Lindsay in the movie. Nothing has been finalized, but we are in talks," said producer Marc Fiore.