All the while that producer Marc Fiore was making pricey pay-or-play deals and holding press conferences in New York and Cannes to trumpet John Travolta, Al Pacino, Lindsay Lohan and Joe Pesci taking part in Gotti: In The Shadow Of My Father, there were big questions on whether Fiore really had the cash to make the movie. It has become clear in the last two weeks that he does not; I’m told that the film is in play and that without a new backer, the mob movie could sleep with the fishes. Conversations are going on right now to figure out new funding and to bring down the budget.
What happened? I’m told that Fiore’s major backer, a New York-based construction mogul named Fay Devlin, recently began questioning what he had gotten himself into after Fiore paid high prices to sign talent to pay-or-play deals. Already more than $10 million has been spent, and I’ve heard they’re on the hook to pay Travolta $10 million to play John Gotti Sr, Pacino $7 million, co-writer/director Barry Levinson more than $4 million, co-writer James Toback $1 million, and Ben Foster low seven figures to play Gotti Jr. Those are high prices for an indie film. A pay-or-play deal from an indie company isn’t the same as one at a studio, but talent and reps had no reason to be unduly concerned because Fiore made escrow payments on time and was so confident his … Read More »
Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father finally has a son: Ben Foster has been tapped to play John Gotti Jr in the pic, which stars John Travolta as John Sr, Al Pacino and Kelly Preston. Joe Pesci also has been cast in the production, but he’s suing producer Fiore Films over his role. Barry Levinson, who replaced original helmer Nick Cassavetes, is directing the pic from a screenplay by Levinson and James Toback. Production is set to begin Jan. 3. Foster, who co-starred in 3:10 to Yuma and more recently opposite Jason Statham in The Mechanic, is reuniting with Levinson after starring in the director’s 1999 film Liberty Heights.
Joe Pesci has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles against Fiore Films, the producer of Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, the latest hiccup in the making of the drama about the son of Mafia boss John Gotti Sr. In the suit, filed Wednesday, Pesci claims he was offered the role of Gotti Sr right-hand man Angelo Ruggiero and a $3 million payday, but after Fiore Films promoted the movie with him in the part and the actor gained 30 pounds for the role, it offered Pesci $1 million and a lesser role. “Defendant has no intention of paying (Pesci) $3 million or having him portray Ruggiero in the film,” the lawsuit claims. “Rather, plaintiff secretly planned to use (Pesci’s) name and likeness to promote the film and then to later concoct some pretext for terminating the contract so as to avoid paying plaintiff anything for the substantial publicity and ‘buzz’ that was generated.” The Associated Press reported that Fiore CEO Marc Fiore rejected the allegations, saying, “Before we had a deal, Mr. Pesci walked away.” John Travolta, Al Pacino and Kelly Preston already are aboard the film, which originally had Nick Cassavetes helming before he departed and was replaced by Barry Levinson. Production is slated to begin Jan. 3.