Barry Levinson to direct ‘Gotti’ pic

Helmer takes over for Nick Cassavetes, who recently ankled the project

Tuesday UPDATE: Fiore Films has confirmed with a statement today that Levinson has agreed to direct “Gotti.” Previously:

Barry Levinson is ready to return to crime, as the “Bugsy” helmer is in negotiations to direct Fiore Films’ mob drama “Gotti: Three Generations.”

Nick Cassavetes was previously onboard to direct before scheduling issues with his indie drama “Yellow” forced producers to release him from his contract.

John Travolta is set to play John Gotti Sr., and Mafia movie fixture Joe Pesci will co-star as Gotti deputy Angelo Ruggiero.

Lindsay Lohan signed on to play John Gotti Jr.’s wife Kim Gotti as part of a two-pic deal with Fiore on April 20. Ella Bleu Travolta will also appear in the film, which focuses on the relationship between Gotti Sr. and his son, who chooses to turn his back on the mob code he grew up around.

Fiore Films acquired life rights last year from John Gotti Jr., the son of the late head of the Gambino crime family. Deal marked the first time a member of the Gotti family agreed to tell their story on the bigscreen.

Production is expected to be-gin in the fall, with a theatrical release in late 2012. The film will be shot in New York, and ICM is repping worldwide rights to the project.

Levinson recently directed Al Pacino in the HBO telepic “You Don’t Know Jack,” which earned the helmer an Emmy nomination. Levinson’s Lionsgate thriller “The Bay” is currently awaiting release.

Levinson is repped by ICM.