If you were planning to hit the multiplex and check out John Travolta playing notorious New York mob boss John Gotti in the about-to-be-released biopic “Gotti”… make other plans.
The film, in which Travolta co-stars with wife Kelly Preston as Victoria Gotti, was reportedly dropped by its studio less than two weeks before its Dec. 15 release date. The Tracking Board reported that Lionsgate had decided to sell the film back to its production company, Emmett/Furla/Oasis.
That, however, was a twisted version of the truth — according to Travolta. The actor told Deadline he was unhappy with Lionsgate’s limited distribution and so his team bought the movie rights back from the film studio.
Travolta has already found a new financier and is close to securing a wide theatrical release for a film which, he said, showcases one of his better performances.
Directed by “Entourage” star Kevin Connolly, “Gotti” chronicles the spectacular rise and tragic fall of publicity-loving gangster John Gotti, whose ability to avoid the slammer led tabloids to nickname him “the Teflon Don” — until he was eventually convicted of first-degree murder in 1992 and sentenced to life without parole.
Gotti died of throat cancer in 2002 while serving his sentence; daughter Victoria later became famous in her own right as star of A&E reality show “Growing Up Gotti”.
This is the latest setback for a movie that’s been plagued with problems over the years, including producers who allegedly had ties to the mob and a 2011 lawsuit filed by “Goodfellas” actor Joe Pesci, who alleged producers reneged on a $3-million offer to play mob enforcer Angelo Ruggiero, and that he had gained 30 pounds for the role when he found out that his role and his salary had been cut.
You can watch the “Gotti” trailer below: