John Travolta has made a career out of playing strong Italian American characters, especially in early roles like Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever, James Umbriacco in Look Who’s Talking and Danny Zuko in Grease.
Despite this start, and despite a career well into its fourth decade, Travolta has never played a mafia gangster – long the calling card of other Italian American superstar actors like Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Al Pacino.
Now, that’s all going to start in some style. Travolta has been filming a biopic of John Gotti, arguably the biggest name in the recent history of the New York Mafia.
Almost as amazing as Travolta having never played a made man is that John Gotti, who led the Five Families of New York during the heyday of drug running in the late 80s and early 90s, has never been made the subject of a movie.
A huge tale like Gotti’s needed a huge name like Travolta to carry it off and if the trailer is anything to go by, then we are all in for a treat.
It isn’t to say that Travolta hasn’t played criminals before: he portrayed hitman Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, loan shark Chili Palmer in Get Shorty and the terrorist/cop/whatever it was that he played in Face/Off.
Gotti, too, has featured on television extensively, with TV movies in 1994, 1996 and 2001 as well as a 1998 miniseries, but never has he been given the treatment on the big screen.
The film charts three decades of the career of the man known as the Teflon Don, so called because of the way in which he was able to avoid any charges sticking to him.
Starring alongside Travolta is Kelly Preston, his wife of 25 years, who has (unsurprisingly) been cast as Gotti’s long-serving wife Victoria Gotti, as well as TV staple Stacy Keach as underboss and character acting legend Leo Rossi as his enforcer. Relative newcomers Spencer Lofranco will play John Gotti junior, the gangster’s son.
The film, directed by Entourage star Kevin Connolly, is in post-production and is slated for a release just before Christmas in the United States.
Travolta is up against some stiff competition in the stakes of Italian American actors in gangster movies – entering the lion’s den of De Niro and Pacino – but if anyone can pull it off, we think John can.
Check out the trailer below, capiche?
source: Lad Bible