More Trouble for "Gotti" Movie: Joe Pesci Suing Producers

By Eric Alt
|  Thursday, Jul 28, 2011  |  Updated 9:06 AM PDT
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The star studded cast includes John Travolta, Joe Pesci, and may even include Lindsay Lohan.

The star studded cast includes John Travolta, Joe Pesci, and may even include Lindsay Lohan.

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If you thought the Gotti family's life was a soap opera, it's got nothing on the behind-the-scenes shenanigans surrounding the proposed movie based on the Gotti family's life.

Joe Pesci has filed a lawsuit against producer Marc Fiore claiming that Fiore promoted the biopic "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father" by claiming that Pesci had been cast in the role of John Gotti's right-hand man Angelo Ruggiero (Pesci had even gained 30 pounds in preparation for the role) but instead reneged on the verbal claim and offered Pesci a lesser role.

Pesci is claiming he was to receive $3 million to play Ruggerio, but the new role would pay him only $1 million.The lawsuit is seeking the $3 million they say Pesci was promised.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, claims that Fiore "secretly planned to use [Pesci’s] name and likeness to promote the film and then to later concoct some pretext for terminating the contract so as to avoid paying plaintiff anything for the substantial publicity and ‘buzz’ that was generated.”

Fiore refuted Pesci's claims to the Associated Press, saying “Before we had a deal, Mr. Pesci walked away." 

This is just the latest drama in what has become the most interesting non-movie (at least at this point) in Hollywood.

Back in April, Fiore held a press conference in New York announcing that John Travolta had agreed to star in the then-titled "Gotti: Three Generations" as famed mob boss John Gotti. "The Notebook" director Nick Cassavetes was confirmed as director. Both Travolta and Cassavetes sat on the panel alongside Fiore and co-producer John Gotti Jr. During the press conference, Fiore claimed that Pesci was cast as Ruggerio, but Pesci himself was not in attendance.

Adding further intrigue to the event was an appearance by Linday Lohan. She was not on the panel, but was seated in the audience, lending some credibility to the rumors that she was cast as Victoria Gotti.

Later, it was reported that Lohan had dropped out of the project because of her legal problems. Then, she resurfaced, this time rumored to be playing Gotti Jr's wife, Kim.

Then, Cassavetes left the project, claiming he had a scheduling conflict. Fiore Films quickly announced that "Bugsy" director Barry Levinson would step in.  Soon thereafter, it was reported that Al Pacino had been cast as rival crime boss Neil Dellacroce, and that "Black and White" director James Toback was revamping Leo Rossi's screenplay.

Whew.

Fiore Films still seems intent on filming "Gotti" in the fall, but with Pesci's lawsuit, the directorial musical chairs, still no confirmation on Lohan (whose legal woes have only increased in the time), and nary a peep from Pacino or Toback, that seems increasingly more unlikely.

Even if it does fall apart, however, "Gotti" will be the most entertaining movie never made.

Selected Reading: Deadline, TMZ, Daily Mail

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