Gotti Biopic Returns with John Travolta

The John Gotti biopic is on again, with a new set of Hollywood backers joining the original producer.

John Travolta remains tied to the project and is ready, once again, to step into the shoes of mob boss John Gotti in the long-gestating film, which Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Fiore Films and Herrick Entertainment are together producing.

John Travolta remains attached to Gotti biopic to play John Senior
The two Johns:  Gotti and Travolta
Travolta met with buyers and glad-handed the press at a Toronto event Sept. 11 where he discussed how the Gotti project had become a family project. His wife, Kelly Preston, and daughter, Ella Bleu Travolta, have signed on to play Gotti’s real-life wife and daughter in the Lionsgate project.

“My wife looks like Victoria and my daughter looks like Angel. It’s really weird,” Travolta told the press at a recent event in Toronto (Travolta flew himself there in his own plane.) 

Newly signed on director Kevin Connolly, known for his supporting role in HBO's Entourage, also noted the ironic coincidence: “It’s uncanny. I looked at pictures and was thinking this is too perfect. Life is too short not to go to work with your family and friends.”

 "It's a small character study of John Jr. and John Sr. that investigates the realness and grittiness of their repoire and the historical events of the Gotti family."

Travolta stuck with the mobster-based biopic for years because of the quality of the story, he said, adding that his excitement has risen based on Connolly joining the project.

"Kevin presented his take to me, which is the vision I've always wanted, and I believe the vision John Jr. wanted," said Travolta. "It's a small character study of John Jr. and John Sr. that investigates the realness and grittiness of their repoire and the historical events of the Gotti family."

The Gotti project has been in and out of turnaround the past few years. Major Hollywood names had been attached to the production, including Lindsay Lohan, Al Pacino, Ben Foster, and Joe Pesci, and directors such as Nick Cassavetes, Barry Levinson, and Joe Johnston.

John Gotti Jr., son of John “Junior” Gotti and grandson of the legendary former Gambino boss, tweeted at Connolly: "I have faith in u, you will be great."

It is the latest development in the runup to a Toronto Festival that has buyers sparked not so much by must-have completed acquisition titles, but by projects that will be shopped for pre-buys.

Many of the hottest festival films were pre-bought and arrive at Toronto with distribution already spoken for.

Shaky funding is blamed for whacking previously announced versions of the Gotti film. One major media splash included Gotti family members, though this time around they seem to be keeping a low profile, except on social media. John "Junior" sold his life rights to the project, according to published reports.

He has since written and published Shadow of My Father, available in Kindle and print format.

The script is said to be "in large part a father-and-son story set in the backdrop of an iconic organized crime family in New York."

The elder Gotti was a New York City tabloid fixture known for his designer suits and strut. Typically news photos and footage would capture a smiling Gotti, surrounded by his men. A beaming "Jackie Nose" D'Amico can often be seen opening doors for the Gambino entourage, which usually included a deadly Joe Watts, replete with black pompadour, looming menacingly in the background.

The Gotti regime came crashing down in 1992, with Sammy “The Bull” Gravano eventually flipping and testifying against Gotti, who made numerous incriminating remarks that were caught on bugs planted in the apartment above the Ravenite. Gotti held court there, thinking he was ensconced in a safe place that the Feds would never have known about. Gotti spoke his mind to an often silent Frank Locascio, who was known primarily for his silence. In fact some have postulated that Gotti may not have spoken at such length if "Frankie Lo" had responded occasionally.

Whether any of the other high-profile names formerly attached to the project are still involved is not yet known. (Ben Foster at one point was in talks to play Junior.

Leo Rossi and Lem Dobbs crafted the most recent draft of the script, which was said to be initially developed under producer Marc Fiore.

Lindsay Lohan was once attached to play Gotti’s wife, Victoria, Joe Pesci was also on board at one point to play Gotti’s right hand man, Angelo Ruggiero, before he was recast in another role, Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso, and offered a lot less money. He sued over it. Sir Anthony Hopkins was also on board in an unspecified role at one point. 

Let's pick our own cast for the film. 

Readers, in your comments below, tell us, who'd be perfect for each of the following roles, as well as any figures we have left out:

John Gotti
John Junior Gotti
Aniello Dellacroce
Michael "Mikie Scars" DiLeonardo
John Alite
Bruce Cutler
Sammy the Bull Gravano
Jackie D'Amico
Angelo Ruggiero
John Carneglia

Bobby Borriello
Gene Gotti
Pete Gotti
Jerry Capeci
Bruce Meow
Paul Castellano

Robert DiBernardo
Thomas Bilotti

Robert "Bobby"  Frank DeCicco