GOTTI: IN THE SHADOW OF MY FATHER
Thanks to an A-list Cast â€“ not to mention Lindsay Lohan â€“ an indie biopic about the life of notorious New York Mafioso John Gotti has become one of Hollywoodâ€™s most talked-about projects.
By Chris Nashawaty
NEW YORKâ€™S DAPPER DON, John Gotti, was a bigger-than-life character. And now a movie being made about the late Mafia kingpin, Gotti: Three Generations, is proving to be just as headline-grabbing. The first salvo in the buzzy biopicâ€™s shock-and-awe campaign was a Barnum-esque press conference held on April 12 in Manhattan, where producer Marc Fiore trotted out his newly inked stat John Travolta and director Nick Cassavetes. Seated next to them was John Gotti Jr., who was asked whoâ€™d be playing him in the film. The mobsterâ€™s son joked, â€ťEddie Murphy!â€ť
At least we think he was joking. After all, every week seems to bring another boldfaced name to the $70 million indie: Joe Pesci, Kelly Preston, Lindsay Lohan, and Al Pacino have all recently signed on. Surprisingly â€“ or not surprisingly, when you think about it â€“ the Lohan announcement (sheâ€™s slated to play Gotti Jr.â€™s wife, Kim; see sidebar) has been getting the most press. â€śLindsayâ€™s a terrific actress, sheâ€™s gorgeous, and Iâ€™m rooting for her in a big way,â€ť says Fiore. â€śFor some reason the media keeps trying to kill this kid, but sheâ€™s a top notch actress.â€ť Actually, Fioreâ€™sÂ so bullish on the troubled Lohan, he hired her for his next film, Mob Street, written by Chazz Palminteri.
Fioreâ€™s been busy writing checks for Gottiâ€™s offscreen talent, too. After Cassavetes dropped out of the project last month due to a scheduling conflict, Fiore snapped up Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson and his Bugsy writer, James Toback. â€śThose two got 10 Academy Award nominations for Bugsy,â€ť says the producer. â€śIâ€™m hoping to get their next 10.â€ť Meanwhile, two of Gottiâ€™s juiciest parts havenâ€™t even been cast yet: No. 1 son John Gotti Jr. and platinum-haired reality-star daughter Victoria. â€śTheyâ€™ll definitely be names youâ€™ve heard of,â€ť promises Fiore.
Gotti doesnâ€™t start shooting until January 2012, and still doesnâ€™t have a distributor lined up. But the big question is whether all of the splashy talent attached will raise expectations too high. After all, the real Dapper Don was finally brought down in part because of his flashiness and outsize reputation. Then again, maybe thatâ€™s a part of the story theyâ€™ll leave out of the film.