HBO Gotti Cast Reunite At Mob Movie Con Show

For one brief moment in 1996, it seemed he was back.....The coiffure, the swagger, the scowl, the air of menace, threats, and schemes. The wit, the philosophizing....But John Gotti had been sitting in a 7-by-8-foot cell in the maximum security wing of the Federal Penitentiary in Marion, Ill., serving a life sentence for murder and racketeering since 1992. (He died serving that sentence in 2002.)

Armand Assante
Armand Assante last weekend in Atlantic City. Photo by Barry Brown.

Armand Assante didn't so much play John Gotti in the two-hour HBO movie Gotti (which was based on Gotti: Rise and Fall by Jerry Capeci and Gene Mustain, plus FBI tapes and court transcripts) as serve as a vessel for the mobster's reincarnation. Assante achieved something remarkable  in the movie (and his portrayal certainly bested John Travolta's more recent attempt, in our book anyways). 

''I did a tremendous amount of homework.'' Assante said of his preparation for the role in an interview with the New York Times at the time the TV movie debuted.  He talked to flamboyant Gotti lawyer Bruce Cutler (Cutler reportedly wanted to portray himself), listened to the tapes, and talked to people who grew up with Gotti. The Dapper Don himself was not available. Assante also drew on his own memories growing up among gang members around Broadway and 178th Street in Washington Heights. 

Recently, at a trade show for mob buffs, Assante and other members of the cast of Gotti gathered for a reunion.

Nick Christophers went to the Sopranos Con/Mob Movie Con at Harrah’s Casino in AC. and wrote the following.

By Nick Christophers
Over the weekend of the 23-25 of July we were again entertained by the Sopranos Con / Mob Movie Con at Harrah’s Casino in AC. Yet on Friday night of the 23rd there was a special event honoring the 1996 film “Gotti” which featured legends like Armand Assante, William Forsythe, and Dominic Chianese. The event was tagged “The Gotti Movie Reunion” brought to us by Virtual Con the same people who host the Sopranos Con / Mob Movie Con.

Lorraine Bracco
Lorraine Bracco played Dr. Melfi on the Sopranos.
Photo by Barry Brown.

At the Reunion which was at the Convention Hall of the casino, the legends we mentioned earlier were present for a discussion and a Q&A with the audience. Even though it did not seem like a packed house the energy in the room was electrifying. Armand Assante was brilliant as always offering his views on how the 1996 HBO blockbuster came to be. Dominic Chianese who regardless of his age was sharp and even sang to the crowd. William Forsythe was as eloquent as always telling the audience how he did a scene with Armand under severe cold temperatures while filming in Toronto and how he cherished that scene. At the end of the event they unveiled the upcoming project “Gotti II” with Armand Assante due out in 2022.

Armand Assante and author/writer Nick Christophers.
Photo by Barry Brown.

Among the fans were actors from the “Sopranos”, Vincent Curatola (Johnny Sacks), Dan Grimaldi (Patsy Parisi), Federico Castelluccio (Furio) and Artie Pasquale (Burt Gervasi). After the discussion/ Q&A anyone who was a VIP entered the Cigar Room to schmooze with the celebs. Actors Armand Assante, William Forsythe, championship boxer / actor Vito Antuofermo and ex-mobster Michael Franzese joined the fans in the Cigar Room. It was a fun and active scene with fans and actors enjoying premium cigars and cocktails.

William Forsythe
William Forsythe played Sammy the Bull in HBO's Gotti.
Photo by photographer Barry Brown.

The following day was the opening of the Mob Movie Con. It featured actors from different mob films like “Scarface”, “Goodfellas”, “Donnie Brasco” and “Bronx Tale”. From “Bronx Tale” was Lilo Brancato (Calogero), Taral Hicks (Jane Williams) and Lou Vanaria (Crazy Mario) for “Donnie Brasco” came Michael Madsen (Sonny Black) and Robert Miano (Sonny Red), Angel Salazar (Chi Chi) presented for “Scarface” and for “Goodfellas” there was Lorraine Bracco (Karen Hill), Paul Sorvino (Paul Cicero), Tony Darrow (Sonny Bunz) and Frank Sivero (Frankie Carbone). For the “Sopranos” there are too many to mention. But most of the cast was present.

Photo by photographer Barry Brown.

Compared to the first installment of this Convention it was not as packed, yet fun either way. It seems they intend to carry this type of Convention into the future. Whether it will sustain an interest is yet to be seen. But so far it has begun to develop a following for folks 30-60 years old so you never know where they can go from here.

All photos from photographer Barry Brow