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‘Gotti’ biopic finally hits movie theaters this week – Virginian

“Gotti,” a crime drama starring John Travolta as the flamboyant mobster John J. Gotti, arrives in theaters Friday, after an eight-year history almost as complicated and tortuous as one of the Mafia don’s many court trials.

“The making of this movie, in the beginning, it was a really tough haul,” says Gotti’s son, John A. “Junior” Gotti, 54. “I don’t know Hollywood, nor do I want to know Hollywood. I want to tell you, it’s a beast that really can’t be tamed.”

The biopic follows the elder Gotti from his days as a newly made man to his blood-soaked rise within the Gambino family to his heyday as the well-dressed kingpin known in the tabloids as the Dapper Don — also called the Teflon Don after authorities repeatedly failed to make multiple charges stick to him in court. “Gotti” is based on his son John’s memoir, “Shadow of My Father,” and directed by Kevin Connolly, the Patchogue-born actor best known as Eric “E” Murphy on the HBO series “Entourage.” Though there have been several television productions devoted to the mobster (including an AE biographical special that aired June 9 and 10), “Gotti” is the first such movie to receive a nationwide theatrical release.

That, however, almost didn’t happen.

The film’s path from conception to theaters began in 2010, when the younger Gotti began looking to turn his memoir into a film. Writers Lem Dobbs (“Haywire”) and Leo Rossi (best known as a character actor) came aboard, and a deal was struck with producer Marc Fiore, a relative Hollywood neophyte with a colorful past (he pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2002). Travolta joined the production, eager to play a real-life figure who simultaneously functioned as crime lord, family man and cultural icon. Over the years, several actors — including Al Pacino, Lindsay Lohan and

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