The likely far more interesting off-screen saga of the John Gotti biopic has seen the mob drama attempt to transform itself from TMZ hoodrat—with its hiring/firing/rehiring/re-firing of Lindsay Lohan, mafia sit-downs with John Travolta, and other attempts to make a name for itself by any means necessary—into respectable businessman by bringing in the Bugsy team of director Barry Levinson and James Toback, and hiring established mafia movie consiglieres like Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
But every time the recently retitled Gotti: In The Shadow Of My Father thinks it’s out, they pull it back in with a story like Pesci suing producers Fiore Films, alleging that they reneged on a contract that would have paid him $3 million to star as Gotti capo Angelo Ruggiero, switching him at the last minute to a lesser role and a $1 million payout. Even more telling, however, Pesci’s lawsuit further charges that his hiring was always just a ruse to stir up publicity for the film and lend Pesci’s considerable mob movie cachet to attract investors the shaky project—which is certainly plausible, given the way we’ve seen this film’s preproduction play out.
For his part, producer Mark Fiore insists that Pesci walked away from the biopic before a deal was even in place, and he tells the Associated Press that he’s now considering countersuing Pesci, saying, “He’s wasting his time and everybody else's time,” adding, “I might be a newbie in town. This newbie is not going to get bulled around” (especially when fighting him will keep his movie in the papers a little longer). Anyway, the worst part of all this: Pesci reportedly “ended his very strict and healthy diet” to pack on 30 pounds for the role, and ate all that pasta and gabagool and baked ziti for nothing. That stuff is like lead—ba-boom—and now it’s just sitting there, like Pesci's on some kind of fucking pay-no-mind list.