NEW YORK (Reuters) - John Travolta will portray notorious New York organized crime boss, the late John Gotti, in a new mob movie that may also feature troubled actress Lindsay Lohan, producers said on Tuesday.
“Gotti: Three Generations,” will also co-star actor Joe Pesci as Gotti’s close friend Angelo Ruggiero. Lohan is “in talks” to be cast in the film, producer Marc Fiore told a news conference attended by Lohan.
The independently-financed film will tell the story of Gotti, the infamous American mobster who became boss of the Gambino crime family and the relationship with his family and son, John Gotti Jr., who himself rose to head the Gambinos and sold the rights to his life story for the film.
“This is probably the most interesting, untold story in this country, and what a character to approach and understand,” Travolta, 57, told a news conference.
Fiore did not say what role Lohan was in talks to play, but media reports have said she is being considered for the role of Gotti Snr.’s daughter Victoria Gotti.
Lohan, 24, whose once promising Hollywood career has been sidelined by three years of jail spells, rehab and court appearances, is currently facing trial and a possible jail sentence in Los Angeles on a jewelry theft charge.
John J. Gotti, known as the “Teflon Don” for evading convictions on several charges that wouldn’t stick, died of cancer in prison aged 61 in 2002. He was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison for murder, racketeering, extortion and tax evasion.
His son, John A. Gotti, lived up to his father’s reputation by eluding conviction in four racketeering trials between 2004 and 2009 with the defense that he quit mob life.
The role of Gotti Jr. is yet to be cast. Gotti, 47, told reporters that he wanted audiences to see the pain his father suffered rather than the ruthless, outspoken and charismatic figure he became known as.
“He made a choice to be something in his life and he stood true to those convictions,” Gotti told reporters. “He suffered greatly, he paid for every sin he may or may not have committed and that is what I want everybody to understand.”
Hollywood has a history of romanticizing Mafia life from “The Godfather” film trilogy to “Married to the Mob” and “Goodfellas.” The Gotti family has already been depicted in movies and television, including a 2004 reality TV series “Growing Up Gotti” about Victoria Gotti and her three sons.
Travolta, who shied away from doing a full impression of his character for the news media on Tuesday, said he was attracted to the complexity of Gotti, who was also known as the “Dapper Don” for his taste for expensive clothes.
“I like the glamour that he has, I like the humor, he entertained the press very well. He charmed them and he charmed his fans. There was mystery about what he was up to,” he said.
The film will be directed by Nick Cassavetes, who directed the films “Blow” and “The Notebook”. Cassavetes said the story will span several decades, from the time Gotti Snr. rose in prominence in the Mafia to his death. Shooting on the movie is planned to begin in October.
In their numerous trials both father and son were portrayed by U.S. prosecutors as cold, vicious thugs who orchestrated killings, kidnappings, robbery, extortions and drug dealing as heads of the Gambinos -- one of New York’s five crime families.
But asked what the loved ones of those killed due to the activities of the Gotti family over the years might think of film, Gotti replied, “In this script, everybody is a victim.”
editing by Jill Serjeant