Joe Johnston, director of Captain America: The First Avenger, has signed up to direct the long-time-coming mobster biopic, Gotti. For the last two years, the film has been kicking around with everyone bar the Queen attached to star. Gotti once had Barry Levinson confirmed as director, Al Pacino as a crime boss, Joe Pesci as a ruthless gangster, Kelly Preston and…gulp, Lindsay Lohan as Gotti Jr’s wife. There’s no word on whether any of these supporting cast announcements still stand, but we do know that John Travolta will still star.
The film is based on a story by Gotti’s son, John A. Gotti, with a screenplay penned by Leo Rossi. No stranger to the mob, Rossi previously wrote 2004’s Mafioso: The Father, The Son. This will be the first time Johnston grapples with a mafia flick, stepping away from his usual genre fare. Previous efforts of his include Jurassic Park III, Hidalgo and The Wolfman. Johnston told THR his thoughts on the film:
“I think we’ve always been fascinated with the idea of the romantic outlaw. John Gotti could be in one instance a charismatic, kind and loving family man, and in another, deadly to his enemies. The opportunity to tell the true story of Gotti with John Travolta is a director’s dream.”
John Travolta has remained onboard as the Gambino family patriarch and all-round-badass John Gotti Sr. With news of Johnston joining the picture, he sounded rather excited:
“I’m looking forward to portraying John Gotti — it’s been a long time coming. And I think that Johnson is an exciting and fresh addition to the vision of the film. We are all looking forward to starting production.”
This will be the second time Gotti’s life has been adapted for the screen. In 1996, Robert Harmon directed the made-for-TV Gotti based on the book The Last Gangster: Winning the War Against John Gotti and the Mob. Armand Assante took the role of the mobster boss.
Filming on Gotti is set to begin in New York on September 9th.