John Travolta Locked For ‘Gotti’ Biopic

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 23rd, 2013 at 3:13 pm,

The handful of projects that John Travolta was eying back in January included Gotti: Three Generations, an indie flick about the infamous Gambino crime family. Now the multiple Oscar-nominated star has signed on to play John “The Dapper Don” Gotti Sr. in the multi-generational mobster biopic.

Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, Alpha Dog) will direct the film from a script penned by Leo Rossi – a character actor who’s made a career out of playing Mafia types, contemptible authority figures, and assorted lowlifes onscreen.

THR confirmed Travolta as playing John Gotti Sr., a man who rose to power as the head of the Gambino crime family in 1986 – shortly after he arranged the murder of his predecessor, Paul Castellano. First dubbed “The Dapper Don” for his tendency to flaunt his fortune in public, Gotti Sr. eventually earned the nickname “The Teflon Don” following several failed attempts to convict him of crimes during the 1980s.

Gotti: Three Generations focuses on the relationship between Gotti Sr. and his son… John Gotti Jr., who originally sought to abandon the family business. Gotti Jr. eventually took over operations after his father was convicted and sent to prison; he ended up serving time as well, but managed to avoid being convicted of racketeering charges over the course of four different trials.

Gotti Jr. has reportedly given his blessing to the project, which producer Marc Fiore says is “going to be the new ‘Godfather’.”

It’d be fair to say that almost every mobster drama made since 1972 has aimed to be a successor to The Godfather, in some sense. But what’s curious about Gotti: Three Generations is that it has the title family’s cooperation. That’s not to say it will romanticize the Gotti clan or portray them in a more ambivalent light, but Gotti Jr. IS a Mafia figure, and they’re kind of known for finding a way to make themselves look respectable in the public’s eye.

Cassavetes is actually a decent filmmaker and Rossi has probably done enough in the way of research over the course of his acting career to actually know a thing or two about how to tell an enticing but authentic mob story. Travolta has been delivering pretty much nothing but hammy performances for years now, but that approach may be all the more fitting for a character like “The Dapper Don.”

James Franco was at one point rumored to be eying the role of Gotti Jr., but he’ll be too busy with projects like Oz, the Great and Powerful for the remainder of 2011. The actual Gotti Jr. will be at a press conference with the filmmakers behind Gotti: Three Generations in about two weeks time, so more should be known about the movie by that point.

Source: THR

TAGS: Gotti
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  1. I wonder if they’ll get the cast of Jersey Shore to play his dirtbag sons.

  2. “going to be the new ‘Godfather'”. Gimme a break. Godfather was directed by Francis Ford Coppola. On the other spectrum – Gotti: Three Generations is being directed by the guy who did Alpha Dog. Pretty bold statement for the producer to say…

    Anyways. I’ll give it a shot. I tend to enjoy Travolta as a bad guy.. esp. Pulp Fiction and he was pretty badass in Swordfish. Taking of Pelham of 123 was pretty bad.. but Travolta kept me watching.

  3. I’m curious, how well respected was Francis Ford Coppola before he made Godfather? Was he even well known before that film?

    • He had made some films prior to Godfather, but that was the movie that really made Coppola’s career – as I understand it.

      • Actually he came into the lime light when he wrote the script for “patron” and he also produced thx1138.

  4. I can’t see Travolta touching Armand Assante’s portrayal of Gotti in the 96 HBO film Gotti. Check out the flick if you never have, several Sopranos alumni are also in it.

    I’m all for more mob drama’s, they are pretty much my favorite genre, but Gotti was already done perfectly.