GOTTI: IN THE SHADOW OF MY FATHER
Well, she's Gotti the same hair! Mob boss daughter Victoria poses with Lindsay Lohan after casting her in $75m movie
By Daily Mail Reporter
Lindsay Lohan today teamed up with the woman who may have saved her career.
The Mean Girls star joined Victoria Gotti, the daughter of late mobster John Gotti, after being chosen to star in an upcoming $75m film about the family.
The 48-year-old is said to have hand picked Lohan, 24, to play her, insisting that producers hire the troubled star over other contenders Sienna Miller and Blake Lively.
Hand picked: Lindsay Lohan poses with Victoria Gotti after a news conference to promote the film Gotti:Three Generations in New York
Mad about the mob: Victoria, John Travolta, John Gotti Jr. and Lindsay meet the press
La famiglia Gotti:From left: unknown, Victoria Gotti, , unknown, John Gotti jnr, Frank Gotti, Carmine Gotti, unknown
John Travolta, who will play notorious organised crime boss, also attended the press conference in New York.
Gotti: Three Generations, will also star actor Joe Pesci as Gotti's close friend Angelo Ruggiero and will be produced by Marc Fiore.
The film, directed by Nick Cassavetes, will tell the story of Gotti, the American mobster who became boss of the Gambino crime family and the relationship with his son, John Gotti Jr., who himself rose to head the Gambinos and sold the rights to his life story for the film.
'This is probably the most interesting untold story in this country, and what a character to approach and understand,' Travolta told a news conference.
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. The Dapper Don: Travolta will play mob boss John Gotti, pictured at his 1990 trial
He was known as the 'Dapper Don' and also the 'Teflon Don' for his enduring 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.'
Gotti was finally jailed, and died in prison aged 61 in 2002, where he was serving a life sentence for murder, racketeering, extortion and tax evasion.
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.'
Despite her presence at today's event, producers stopped short of officially confirming Lohan's role.
They are presumably holding out until after her April 22 court hearing.
Lohan is currently facing trial and a possible jail sentence in Los Angeles on a jewellery theft charge
Family affair: Travolta's wife Kelly Preston turned up to show her support
New project: Director Nick Cassavetes, Travolta, executive producer Marc Fiore and John Gotti Jr.
Gotti's son, John A Gotti, eluded conviction in four racketeering trials between 2004 and 2009 with the defence that he quit mob life.
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.
Shooting on the movie is planned to begin in October, Fiore said.
The torrid love affair, the white hot rages, and the utter bloody ruthlessness of New York's most powerful criminal... the Teflon Don
In his time, he was the emperor of America's underworld. But from his clumsy first attempts at a life of crime, no one would ever have suspected that John Gotti would have clawed his way to such dubious heights.
Gotti was born on October 27, 1940, in the South Bronx, and had eleven brothers and sisters. What money their father made, he wasted on gambling.
The Dapper Don: John Gotti pictured being led out of FBI offices in Lower Manhattan after his arrest at a social club in Little Italy
The legend: Gotti, right, laughs during a moment at one of his many trials
Gotti grew up hungry for more - so when the family moved to Brooklyn and he became aware of Cosa Nostra, 'Our Thing', the attraction of a glamorous life of guns and riches was instant and undeniable. The youngster started running errands for the Mob.
His first brush with police was so embarrassing that it would not have been surprising if Mob bosses had written him off: He tried to steal a cement mixer and it fell on his foot.
The resulting injury affected the way Gotti walked for the rest of his life. For some the reminder may have been mentally crippling also; for Gotti, it seemed to serve only as a permanent reminder of his determination to succeed.
The woman who loved him, and the man who betrayed him: Left, Gotti's wife Vicky, pictured at one of his son's trials in 2005; and right, Salvatore 'Sammy the Bull' Gravano, in a mug shot from 2000, after he was betrayed in turn by someone in his own organisation
End of an era: Pallbearers carry John Gotti's bronze coffin after his death in 2002
Relying almost entirely on his fierce temper and willingness to fight, Gotti soon became the head of a local gang.
He also fell in love. In 1962 he married Vicky DiGorgio. The couple had had a child the previous year, and went on to have four more together.
But domestic bliss was never to be theirs. The couple had a tempestuous relationship, with Vicky storming at her husband over his life of crime. She objected violently to his drinking and gambling.
And as for his eye for other women, it enraged her.
Just four years after their wedding, Gotti, aged 26, was jailed for hijacking trucks. He spent four more years in jail - but when he got out he met Aniello 'Neil' Dellacroce.
Dellacroce was Carlo Gambino's right-hand man. Like in many organisations, in the Mafia, networking is key. Gotti impressed Dellacroce with his domineering personality, and his status in the family grew.
So they began to set him tests.
The first was to kill Irish-American gangster James McBratney, who had kidnapped and murdered Gambino's son. Gotti and two other men dressed as police officers and gunned McBratney down in a Staten Island bar full of people.
Witnesses identified Gotti and he was arrested for the killing in 1974. But he struck a plea bargain received just a four-year sentence for attempted manslaughter.
After his release, Carlo Gambino died and Paul Castellano, his brother-in-law, took over as boss of the family. But he and Gotti clashed repeatedly in a bloody struggle for control of the syndicate.
The feud finally ended with the Mafia version of a power play: Gotti watching coldly from a car as Catellano was gunned down by assassins under his control outside a New York steak house in 1985.
Gotti stepped in to the vacuum. The FBI made him a prime target. The public, enthralled with his dapper suits and high-rolling life, made him something of a celebrity.
Gotti loved his public image and fuelled it, presenting himself as an almost heroic rogue, tapping in to the American fascination with bandits and outlaws.
The combined might of America's law enforcement agencies could not make a charge stick against him, earning him the title of the Teflon Don.
In one case, a man accusing him of assault 'changed his mind' after the brakes of his truck were tampered with.
In another, Gotti was acquitted amid whisper he had bribed the jury foreman.
It was not until April 2, 1992, at the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, that Gotti was finally sentenced on convictions that included murder, extortion and obstruction of justice.
He had been betrayed by his own right-hand man, Salvatore Gravano, aka 'Sammy the Bull', who had sat with him in the car that day in 1985 as they watched Castellano's murder in Manhattan.
Gravano himself served five years in jail, and was later also betrayed by someone within his own drugs empire in Arizona.
But in 1992 his testimony led the court to sentence Gotti to 100 years in prison. He was sent to the maximum-security penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, where he was put in solitary confinement: 23 hours a day alone in a small cell.
He lasted ten years. On June 10, 2002, aged 61, John Gotti died of cancer.
His son, John Junior, was his successor as Gambinos boss. He was soon dubbed 'The Teflon Son' after repeatedly escaping charges.
He swore he left a life of crime when he was aged just 35. After escaping his latest conviction in January 2010, he announced he is set to write a true crime novel.
HOW THE GAMBINO FAMILY BECAME AMERICA'S MOST NOTORIOUS CLAN
The Gambino crime family prides itself on being one of America's most notorious criminal empires.
The family's rein can be traced back to the Italian mafioso in the early 20th century.
Its main criminal activities include racketeering, extortion, money laundering and prostitution.
The family's rise to power in America started in 1957 when Albert Anastasia was assassinated while sitting in a barber chair in Manhattan.
Carlo Gambino is believed to have helped organise the hit to take over the family.
John Gotti proclaimed himself the leader of the Gambino family in 1985.
The movie Goodfellas based some of its characters on members of the Gambino family.
In January of 2011, 127 alleged mobsters were arrested in what the FBI touted as its biggest ever crackdown on organised crime.
Among them were the new boss and underboss of the Gambinos, Bartolemeo Vernace and Joseph Corozzo.
Other powerful leaders of the Gambino, Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno and Colombo families, along with the DeCavalcante of New Jersey, were among those arrested.
They were being held at Fort Hamilton, an U.S. Army base in Brooklyn because there was no police station big enough to hold them.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told a press conference that the charges cover decades worth of offences, including hits to eliminate rivals, a killing during a botched robbery and double shooting in a ballroom dispute over a spilled drink.
Authorities say the massive investigation was aided by informants who recorded thousands of conversations by suspected mobsters.
Federal agents said those taken into custody ranged from small-time bookmakers and crime family functionaries to a number of senior mob figures and several corrupt union officials.
The murder charges are believed to date back to the 1980s and 1990s.
Many of the charges are expected to relate the Mafia families' multi-million dollar incomes from union corruption, loansharking and gambling.
Other charges include corruption among dockworkers who were forced to kick back a portion of their holiday bonuses to the crime families.
Holder called the arrests an 'important step forward in our nation's fight against organised crime.' He added that it will 'disrupt' the mafia.
The mafia empires have been decimated by federal probes in recent years and have seen many of their leaders jailed for lengthy prison sentences after informants testified against them.
But there had been concerns of a possible resurgence or organised crime in the city leading up to the arrests.
Crime families: This remarkable FBI chart names members of the seven families linked to the Mafia
Anatomy of the mob: This flowchart, published on the FBI website, details the hierarchy of a New York organised family and the military-style roles of its members