Joe Pesci sues producers of John Gotti mobster film

Image caption,
Pesci, 68, won an Oscar in 1990 for his role in crime drama GoodFellas

Actor Joe Pesci has taken legal action against the producers of a film about US mobster John Gotti, claiming they have reneged on their pledges to him.

Pesci claims production company Fiore Films used his name and likeness to promote the project but does not want to honour its original offer to him.

He is seeking the $3m (£1.8m) he claims he was promised to play the role of a childhood friend of John Gotti Sr.

Fiore Films have rejected the claims, saying Pesci "walked away" months ago.

Company CEO Marc Fiore said he had received correspondence from the actor's representatives saying Pesci was pulling out of the project until the original director, Nick Cassavetes, was replaced.

Pesci's lawyer has disputed that statement, saying Pesci had been offered a lesser role for a reduced salary of $1m (£612,275).

According to the actor's legal action, Fiore Films had "no intention" of paying Pesci $3m to play the role of Angelo Ruggiero, a trusted Gotti advisor.

Instead, it alleges, the company "secretly planned to use [Pesci's] name and likeness to promote the film".

Weight gain

According to Fiore Films' website, the film - to be called Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father - still has the GoodFellas star attached.

John Travolta, Al Pacino and Kelly Preston have also been cast in the biopic, set to begin shooting in January, with director Barry Levinson at the helm.

According to Pesci's legal action, the actor gained 30 lb (13.6 kg) to play Ruggiero, who died in prison in 2002.

Travolta is set to play John Gotti Sr in the film, which will explore his relationship with the son, John Gotti Jr, who went on to follow in his father's footsteps in the criminal underworld.

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