After spending years in Hollywood limbo, the biopic about the most infamous crime boss since Al Capone will finally hit theaters on June 15.
Gotti director Kevin Connolly, best known for playing Eric “E” Murphy on HBO’s bro-classic Entourage, spoke with Maxim about the process of bringing John Gotti’s story to the big screen with living legend John Travolta.
From his earliest memories of mobster lore to meeting the Teflon Don’s real son, the Long Island-born movie maker didn’t hesitate to tell us about everything Gotti.
You grew up in the NYC suburbs—what are your memories of John Gotti?
I remember John Gotti being in the news. In those days, there were three news stations, and you could count on a John Gotti clip once every two weeks of him thumbing his nose at authorities.
Also, he was in the paper everyday. America has this romanticized idea and fascination with gangsters. I was a young kid, but you get a bit older and you realize that not everything they do is so good. There’s a bad side to it. But as a kid, it’s like, “Oh, cool! A real-life gangster.” That was it, he was like the real-life Godfather.
Does one particular story stick out?
It was the legend about the guy who had the accident with his son. His son, Frankie Gotti, was killed on his bike, and then the guy kind of disappeared. That sort of cemented the legacy of like, “Whoa, this guy’s the real deal.” I can remember thinking that that’s the real thing. That was one early memory that sticks out.
To this day, that’s unsolved. Even if you were to ask John Gotti Jr. he would say, “I don’t know, maybe. I’m assuming, but it’s not like my dad came home and said, ‘I took care of that thing.’” They were just kids. They drew the same conclusion that everyone else did.
What made John Gotti’s story one you wanted to tell?
As a director in such a competitive market—and to be a kid from Long Island who has an opportunity to work with John Travolta who’s like the last of the dying breed in terms of an old school movie star—to work with John Travolta as John Gotti… I mean what other answer is there other than, “Thank you very much. Let’s do this.”
John Gotti Jr. spent a lot of time on the Gotti set—did you feel extra pressure to “get it right”?
Yeah I felt a lot of pressure. Big pressure to get it right. Aside from the obvious fact that he’s who he is, there’s pressure any time you make a movie about anybody. I did an ESPN 30 for 30 called “Big Shot,” and it was about a guy named John Spano who basically stole the New York Islanders, which is my hockey team—I’m a big hockey guy. So I told this guy’s life story, and it was important that he liked it.
When you tell people’s …read more
Source:: MAXIM – News