Barry Levinson’s feeling energized by going back to his mob drama roots with Al Pacino onboard to play a key role in “Gotti: Three Generations.”
“The story of the Gotti family is very intriguing to me as sort of the last hurrah for organized crime,” he said Tuesday on arriving in Cannes. “It’s become more like disorganized crime.”
Fiore Films announced Tuesday that Pacino had been cast as crime boss Neil Dellacroce. Levinson and Pacino worked together on HBO’s “You Don’t Know Jack” with Pacino winning an Emmy and on “Donnie Brasco,” which Levinson produced.
“Al has such a love for his craft because he understands what makes characters appealing,” Levinson said. “What I have to do is invest myself in knowing the characters so I’m not doing this by numbers. When I did ‘Rain Man,’ I did a lot of talking with parents of autistic children.”
To that end, Levinson’s been consulting with John Gotti Jr., son of “Teflon Don” John Gotti Sr., to tweak the script — which centers on that father-son relationship. He’s working with James Toback. Levinson and Toback worked together more than two decades ago on “Bugsy.”
Levinson promises “Gotti” won’t be a shoot-’em-up, nor will it glorify the mob — a contention he recalls hearing about “Bugsy.” “The tagline was ‘glamour was the disguise,’ so it was very much a part of accurately telling the story,” he noted.
Levinson’s planning to shoot in late fall in New York City.