John Travolta is charismatic Gambino family crime boss John Gotti in a new trailer for Gotti from Lionsgate Pictures. Kevin Connolly (Dear Eleanor) directed the gangster biopic from a script by Lem Dobbs (The Limey) and Leo Rossi. The project has been kicking around for a long time, with Nick Cassevettes and Barry Levinson tabbed to direct at various times and actors like Al Pacino and Lindsay Lohan attached.
Famed mobster John Gotti grew up in poverty in the Bronx, turning to a life of crime when he was still young. Gotti’s talents allowed him to quickly rise in the criminal underworld, and in the mid-’80s he murdered his way to the top of the infamous Gambino crime family. As boss of the Gambino family, the charming and flamboyant Gotti became a prominent New York media figure, becoming known as “The Dapper Don” for his personal style and “The Teflon Don” for his ability to escape prosecution. The teflon wore off after Gotti’s accomplice Sammy “The Bull” Gravano was flipped by the FBI and Gotti was sent to federal prison, ultimately dying behind bars in 2002.
John Travolta adopts the dapper style and larger-than-life personality of John Gotti in the new trailer (see above) for the biopic Gotti from Lionsgate Pictures. The clip previews the whole arc of Gotti’s career from his early days as a Gambino enforcer to his bloody rise to the top position in the powerful crime family, through his ultimate fall. Travolta undergoes a startling transformation from the nattily-clad Gotti of the glory days to the broken older mobster rotting away in prison but still showing no remorse.
The trailer promises a potential tour-de-force performance from Travolta as he portrays Gotti in his various incarnations. We see Travolta as the brash young Gotti with a thick head of black hair wacking people for Don Gambino (Michael Cipiti). We see Gotti in his days as a full-fledged crime boss, with his signature gray hair and flashy suits, becoming the darling of the New York press. And we also see Travolta totally bald, with a craggy face and haunted eyes locked away in prison declaring “We walk together, and we fall together. This is the life.”
Travolta’s career hasn’t exactly been in a healthy place in recent years, but with Gotti he appears to have gotten his hands on a role he can sink his teeth into. Kevin Connolly may be an unproven director, but co-writer Lem Dobbs has a long history writing hard-bitten crime dramas like The Limey, The Hard Way and The Score, so there’s reason for optimism that at the very least Gotti will be a well-crafted biopic that sets up Travolta for a strong performance.
Gotti also stars Kelly Preston, Stacy Keach, Pruitt Taylor Vince, William DeMeo and Spencer Rocco Lofranco. The film is set to be released in theaters and on-demand on December 15th, 2017.
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