Gotti: Three Generations is one of those projects that came together nice and quick, over the course of essentially a single month. The film will reunite director Barry Levinson with his Bugsy screenwriter, James Toback, and is set to feature the likes of John Travolta, Joe Pesci, and Lindsay Lohan in front of the camera.

Add one more significant name to that cast list: Al Pacino has also signed on for the mobster biopic. That’s all the more fitting, seeing how producer Marc Flore has boasted before about the Gotti flick being “the new ‘Godfather’.”

Toback is currently reworking actor Leo Rossi’s Gotti: Three Generations script, which chronicles the rise to power of mobster John “The Dapper Don” Gotti Sr. (Travolta) during the mid-1980s – and his son’s hesitancy to follow in his father’s footsteps. Travolta’s real-life wife and daughter (Kelly Preston and Ella Bleu Travolta) will play Gotti’s wife and child; Lohan, meanwhile, is set to appear as Gotti’s daughter-in-law, Kim Gotti.

Pesci will do what he does best – playing a mobster type and “deputy” to Travolta’s Gotti Sr., Angelo Ruggiero. Pacino is set to do likewise in the role of Aniello “Neil” Dellacroce, a close friend and mentor of Gotti Sr.

That leaves the part of John Gotti Jr. as the last major role in Three Generations yet to be filled. Outside of the previous rumors about James Franco eying the part (back before he signed on for Oz the Great and Powerful instead), there’s been no word about what young actor could be up to play “the new Michael Corleone.”

Pacino in ‘The Godfather’.

It goes without saying that no one outside of the Three Generations production team really sees this new film as the potential successor to Godfather‘s place atop the mafia family genre. At this point in their careers, neither Travolta, Pesci, Pacino, or even Levinson can claim to have a near flawless track record, with respect to the quality of their respective filmography. Plus, teaming up iconic crime drama actors does not per se guarantee a memorable final product (Righteous Kill, anyone?).

With all that said: Most would agree that Three Generations is looking a whole lot better than it did just over a month ago, right after Travolta officially signed on. It now features multiple Oscar-nominees and winners working both behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera – not to mention, some pretty interesting real-life subject matter to boot. So this is one pic that arguably has the potential to be a critical heavyweight when it arrives in theaters.

Gotti: Three Generations looks to begin production on location in New York this fall, with a late 2012 release date in mind. Expect to hear about a younger (but still noteworthy) actor signing on to play John Gotti Jr. in the near future.

Source: The Associated Press