Exclusive: The “Rocky” actor insists he's not telling Hollywood players he's going to play the “Dapper Don”
It’s Gotti vs. Rocky.
John "Junior" Gotti wants Sylvester Stallone to stop telling people he’ll play his father, legendary mob boss John Gotti, in a movie based on his life — a charge Sly denies.
Junior and his partners insist that's the case.
“It’s frustrating, because when we’re talking to anybody — actors, studio finance people — we keeping getting the same spiel that Stallone is making this movie,” Marc Fiore, chief executive officer of Fiore Films, who have teamed up with the younger Gotti, told TheWrap. “I tried to talk to him about it and his people said they’d get back to us.”
Gotti's father, known as the "Dapper Don," was the head of the Gambino crime family. "Junior" Gotti was convicted of racketeering and sentenced to 77 months in prison. He was released in 2005.
However, Gotti claims that ultimately he went with the lower profile Fiore Films, because he and Stallone had different ideas about how his father’s story should be told.
“Marc knew the direction we wanted to go in. Stallone wanted a mob ‘shoot ‘em up’ movie. This is a father-and-son story,” Gotti told TheWrap.
As for Stallone, he emphatically denies that he is muddying the waters for Fiore and Gotti.
“Reports that Sylvester Stallone has implied that he owns the rights to the John Gotti Story or that he is advising the entertainment community not to work with the Gotti family are completely inaccurate,” a spokesperson for the actor told TheWrap. “Mr. Stallone – who does not have a Gotti project in development – recently had dinner with John Gotti Jr., speaks highly of him as a gentleman and wishes him well in his endeavors.”
Not so, say individuals with knowledge of the production.
They claim within the past month, Stallone and his camp have not only spoken to several actors about his vision for a movie based on the Gotti story, but that he has also pitched the idea to senior executives from at least one major entertainment company.
"Stallone has been pursuing this story for so long that he just can't walk away; he's got this Gotti bone in his mouth and won't let it go,” an individual with knowledge of the production told TheWrap.
As for Fiore, they’re moving ahead with the $50 to $60 million production. Nick Cassavetes is reportedly in talks to direct the project, and Fiore says they have several A-list actors interested in playing both Gottis. Pre-production is expected to start in February, with filming scheduled to begin in New York in May or June.
But both Fiore and Gotti say they’re upset over Stallone’s actions.
“I take it personally. I admired what [Stallone] did to get his first film made, and to kick someone like me who is justing entering the business. I just thought he’d have shown more respect,” Fiore said.
Ironically, it is Gotti who seems less upset over the possibility that Stallone is working against his project.
“I wish him well in life. I’m just confused, because he’s not participating in this project,” Gotti said. “We keep hearing, ‘What about Sly? What about Sly?’”