For a project beleaguered with numerous setbacks, during which time Nick Cassavetes, Joe Johnston and Barry Levinson were all attached to helm the crime drama, it appears the long-gestating biopic Gotti has finally settled on its director in Kevin Connolly.
Deadline has the report, revealing that despite an unsteady path to development, John Travolta remains attached to star as Gotti Sr., the New York mob boss who went down in history as one of the deadliest the Big Apple has ever seen during the ’90s. From extortion to loan-sharking, racketeering to illegal gambling, Gotti was a high-profile member of the Gambini who shared many of the devil-may-care characteristics of Al Capone – he was even found guilty of tax evasion much like the infamous Chicago gangster.
For Connolly’s big-screen depiction of the devious crook, though, the story will unfold from the perspective of his son John Jr. – no word yet on casting for that role – which is a common set-up to pursue, considering that it allows us to view the subject of said biopic from a detached, more objective standpoint. Then again, John Jr. himself was not above reproach, serving a nine-year jail sentence of his own for racketeering, though the real life character is now a changed man, even selling his life rights for this long-gestating project.
Best known for his role as Eric Murphy in Entourage, Kevin Connolly has gained experience behind the camera by directly numerous episodes of HBO’s comedy-drama not to mention a directorial debut in 2007’s Gardener Of Eden. Without doubt, Gotti stands as his biggest project to date, and Deadline notes that it’s being pitched as a father-and-son story set against the backdrop of organized crime. Color us intrigued.
Gotti will touch down at the Toronto International Film Festival in search of international distributors. Currently, Lionsgate holds the rights to release the crime drama in the United States.