Joe Pesci accuses Gotti producers of yanking role

Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:12pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Joe Pesci has sued the makers of a movie about crime boss John Gotti and his son, accusing producers of reneging on a contract after he gained 30 pounds to play the notorious crime boss' right-hand man.

Pesci's lawsuit could be an early roadblock for the film, "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father," that has gained widespread attention due to its subject matter and a cast that includes John Travolta, Al Pacino and Lindsay Lohan.

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Pesci said he came to an oral agreement with producer Fiore Films to play Angelo Ruggiero, the close friend of the late crime boss John Gotti, and was promised $3 million for his part.

But Fiore Films later told Pesci that instead he would be playing the lesser role of Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso and would receive only $1 million, according to the lawsuit.

The Italian-American actor's lawsuit accuses Fiore Films of breach of oral contract, fraud, misappropriation of name and likeness and unjust enrichment.

He is seeking damages of at least $3 million.

"We feel the lawsuit has absolutely no merit whatsoever," said Steve Honig, a spokesman for Fiore Films.

Pesci said in his lawsuit that he wants to play Ruggiero and is still willing to take the part now that he has begun "diligently preparing for the role."   Continued...