The life of John Gotti Jr. and his mobster father will become a feature from New York production company Fiore Films, which is planning a production start next year with $15 million from private investors.
The story, with actor Leo Rossi working on the script, will focus on the complex relationship between Gotti and his father — the flamboyant head of the Gambino crime family in New York, who spent the last decade of his life in prison before dying of cancer in 2002.
Focus of the script will be the son’s last visit to his father to say he was ending his life of crime and getting out of the family business.
“The story’s about redemption,” Gotti told Daily Variety. “My father had a hard time accepting that I ultimately didn’t want to follow his path.”
Though many in Hollywood were interested in the rights, Gotti said it was easy to choose Marc Fiore as the producer despite his being a relative unknown in the world of filmmakers.
“I’m most interested in this story getting told accurately, and I think Marc can do that,” he added. “This is not going to be an expose of the mob or a shoot-em-up.”
No talent attachments have been made yet, but Fiore’s aiming to begin shooting in the first or second quarter.
Sylvester Stallone was photographed last summer meeting with Gotti in Beverly Hills and some media reports speculated that the actor-filmmaker was pursuing rights to his life story.
The younger Gotti served jail sentences of about nine years for a variety of charges, including racketeering, gambling and loan sharking.
He was never convicted as a defendant in four racketeering prosecutions between 2004 and 2009. He asserts he’s turned his life around and believes that a feature film is a good means to move beyond his past.
Gotti’s not a fan of mobster movies such as “Goodfellas” and TV series like “The Sopranos,” saying they underplay the intelligence of the crime leaders while overplaying the “dese” and “dose” speech patterns. However, he did like the first two “Godfather” films.
Fiore (who grew up in Bensonhurst) asserts that he’s fascinated by the cinematic potential of the father-son relationship. “John and I come from the same background and I think that gives both of us a comfort level,” he added.
Fiore worked with Chazz Palminteri on an indie feature about the FBI’s investigation into the mob’s involvement in Wall Street and the world of finance during the mid-1990s. He credited Rossi, who’s been in dozens of films including “Analyze This,” with alerting him to the possibility of a Gotti Jr. project.
Gotti was born in 1964 in Brooklyn, with his mother attempting to shield him and his three siblings from their father’s life of crime. (His sister, Victoria, was the center of a 2004 reality show, “Growing Up Gotti.”)
While attending New York Military Academy, he became aware of his father’s exploits when watching a TV news segment with his schoolmates. As a young man, Gotti worked in trucking and construction but eventually worked his way up within the Gambino crime family and became a “made man” in 1988.
“You’ll never hear me say that my father was a saint but he did pay for his sins,” Gotti notes. “He lost everything and he died in incredible pain.”
Gotti resides on Long Island with his wife Kim and their six children who range in age from 4-20. He’s working on his autobiography and is involved in helping at-risk youths stay off the streets.