The Goodfellas star signed a $3 million (£1.8 million) deal to play the gangster's associate and childhood pal Angelo Ruggiero in Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, alongside John Travolta and Kelly Preston.
He filed suit against Fiore Films in July 2011, claiming he had piled on weight to portray Ruggiero, only to be told he would be playing a smaller part.
His attorney, Jessica Trotter, confirmed on Monday (04Feb13) that Pesci has reached a undisclosed out-of-court settlement with bosses at the production company.
Travolta will play Gotti in the film. The crime boss died behind bars in 2002.
There's probably still someone somewhere that would fall for one of Sacha Baron Cohen's weird and wooly scenarios but let's face the facts: the days when Ali G. could snag an interview with Pat Buchanan or Gore Vidal are long gone. 2009's Bruno definitely let some steam out of Borat's tires not to mention the ensuing lawsuits. But it's refreshing to see Cohen and his Borat/Bruno cohort director Larry Charles flex their muscles in the fictional universe of The Dictator a vehicle that doesn't skimp on their signature cringe-worthy humor.
The world of The Dictator gives them the leeway to create crazy spectacles — at one point Cohen's General Aladeen rides down Fifth Avenue on a camel surrounded by a giant motorcade. Having a plot helps too; although part of the genius of Sacha Baron Cohen's schtick is how the viewer is made culpable by proxy by our amusement and horror at how he tricks and torments people who aren't in on the joke The Dictator continues the self-reflexive satirical bite. We're certainly not off the hook. Aladeen says and does truly outrageous things but they're also exaggerations of the world we live in. It might be a stretch to call Sacha Baron Cohen the British Lenny Bruce or George Carlin in a face merkin but rest assured that no topic is off limits. If you are offended by jokes about abortion rape feminists body hair race religion politics STDs war crimes ethnic cleansing necrophilia and/or bestiality don't even bother. However if you like the kind of comedy that makes you hide your face in your hands feeling like each laugh is being pried from you against your will you're in business.
Cohen eats up the screen as both General Aladeen and his incredibly dumb body double; the latter prefers the intimate company of one of his goats to a human while the former is a fairly stupid ruthless dictator whose own people are so disloyal to him that they actually ignore his commands to execute people. (He really likes to execute people.) When he arrives in New York City to attend a summit at the UN his uncle Tamir (Ben Kingsley) has the two switched so he can easily manipulate the "General" into signing a treaty to make Wadiya a democracy and reap the financial benefits. Aladeen finds refuge with Zoe a hairy-pitted activist who thinks he's a political dissident and is excited to be able to give him a safe haven in her touchy-feely Brooklyn grocery co-op. Instead of being typecast as another blonde dummy Anna Faris is finally given room to play as the wide-eyed naïf who takes Aladeen's very serious statements as jokes or simple miscommunications. She's a great foil to Baron Cohen who is easily half a foot taller than she is and has a wolfish grin. Their banter is often the most politically incorrect of the bunch but also the funniest.
Alas the plot. It's a bare bones situation to get a very broad character from A to B. Aladeen is obviously an outlandish mishmash of modern dictators; he spouts racist misogynist rhetoric endlessly and after a while...yeah we get it. However like all of Sacha Baron Cohen's humor The Dictator also takes a direct shot at Western countries (specifically the United States) which would be all fine and dandy if he didn't wedge an expository speech in about it as well. The problem with making a traditional narrative movie is that with some exceptions you've got to play within the guidelines. The Dictator isn't trying to do anything fancy; all it needs a few big beats and a neat ending to wrap it all up. It doesn't quite manage to tie it all together in a way that makes The Dictator more than an hour and a half or so of laughing and cringing.
Besides Faris and Kingsley there are a number of cameos by a very wide variety of comics and actors. Megan Fox plays herself Kevin Corrigan appears as a creepy dude who works at the co-op John C. Reilly is a racist security guard and Fred Armisen runs an anti-Aladeen café in New York's Little Wadiya district. The very funny Jason Mantzoukas has a large role as Nadal the former head of rocket science who was supposedly executed for not making Aladeen's nuclear warhead pointy. It's a good ensemble and hopefully Sacha Baron Cohen's next feature-length film will build on The Dictator's weaknesses.
The Hollywood actor is due to star as late Mafia boss John Gotti, who died in prison in 2002, in upcoming movie Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, alongside his real-life wife Kelly Preston and Al Pacino.
Filming is slated to begin in January (12) ahead of a 2012 release date, but a new report suggests production has been put on hold.
Showbiz411.com reports work on the project has come to a halt and won't resume until more financing is secured.
A source tells the website, "If (producer) Marc Fiore doesn't come up with money this week, and doesn't show that more is coming, and that he's really secured financing, it could all fall apart."
The film's producers are also facing a legal battle with Goodfellas star Joe Pesci, who is suing bosses at Fiore Films over allegations he was offered a $3 million (£2 million) deal to play Angelo Ruggiero, an associate of Gotti, but was later told he would be given a smaller part.
The Goodfellas star is suing bosses at Fiori Films, the production company behind Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, alleging he was offered a $3 million (£2 million) deal to play Angelo Ruggiero, an associate of late Mafia boss John Gotti.
Pesci claims the casting was announced at the Cannes Film Festival in France over the summer (11) and he even piled on weight in preparation for the role, only to be later told he would be playing a smaller part.
Producer Marc Fiori has now reached out to Pesci, insisting he hopes the legal battle won't prevent the star from appearing in the film.
He tells the Hollywood Reporter, "During the past few days, there have been erroneous reports in the media that I have been making less than favourable comments about Joe Pesci. For the record, I am extremely fond of Joe, think he is a terrific actor and very much want him to be in the Gotti movie.
"It's unfortunate we have become embroiled in a lawsuit; however, I am hopeful that we will resolve our differences and Joe will accept an offer from us to be in the film."
The movie stars John Travolta and is due for release next year (12).
Pesci is suing Fiore Films producers for reportedly reneging on a deal to cast him as Angelo Ruggiero, a close friend to mob boss John Gotti, in upcoming biopic Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father.
In his lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles in July (11), Pesci claimed he was so sure he had landed the role, he piled on 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) ahead of the shoot - only to be offered a smaller part.
Now executives have spoken out about the dispute, accusing the Goodfellas star of trying to drum up publicity by attaching himself to the project.
A spokesperson for Fiore Films tells TMZ.com, "It has been over 20 years since Mr. Pesci has been able to gather the attention he has by merely interjecting his role in this film.
"(Pesci) desperately wants to be part of this film project."
The Goodfellas star signed up to play Angelo Ruggiero, the enforcer of mob boss John Gotti, played by John Travolta.
He agreed to the lucrative deal and claims he was so convinced the film was going ahead with him as a main part, he piled on 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) for the role.
But in papers filed in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday (27Jul11), Pesci claims bosses reneged on an agreement to cast him.
He states he was subsequently offered $1 million (£625,000) to play a lesser role, but is seeking his agreed pay cheque, as well as damages.
However, bosses at Fiore Films, the studio behind the movie, insist it was Pesci who pulled out of the project after learning the original director had dropped out. Pesci's lawyer denies the claims.
Cassavetes quit Gotti: Three Generations, due to a scheduling conflict, just a week after staging a press conference to announce his leading men, Travolta and Joe Pesci, last month (Apr11).
But his director's seat won't be vacant for long, according to trade paper Variety.
Levinson is slated to take charge of the Fiore Films project, which will star Travolta as mob boss John Gotti, Pesci as his deputy Angelo Ruggiero and Lindsay Lohan as John Gotti Jr.'s wife Kim.
The news comes hours after Gotti: Three Generations executive producer, Mark Fiore, announced he was tired of negotiating a deal with Lohan's managers and urged the actress to get in touch with him directly - and it seems the actress has done just that.
Hours after he stated, "Maybe if Lindsay calls me up, we can talk about it," Fiore has announced the Mean Girls star has signed on to play Gambino family boss John Gotti's daughter-in-law Kim in the film as part of a two-picture deal.
The role was initially earmarked for reality TV star Kim Kardashian, according to insiders, while Lohan was formerly in negotiations to portray Gotti's daughter Victoria.
As part of the new deal, Lohan will also have a starring role in Fiore Films upcoming production of Mob Street, a movie based on a screenplay written by actor Chazz Palminteri.
Fiore tells WENN, "We're very pleased to have Lindsay onboard for both of these films. She has been very enthusiastic about the Gotti project, and, after resuming discussions with her, we were impressed by her commitment to the film and felt she would be a perfect Kim Gotti."
Travolta will play Gotti in the film and Joe Pesci will play his right-hand man Angelo Ruggiero.
The project is still without a director after Nick Cassavetes quit the film earlier this week (beg18Apr11), due to a scheduling conflict.
Trade paper Variety reports scheduling conflicts with another project forced Cassavetes to step down, but the film will be going ahead, as planned, with another director.
Travolta has committed to stay with the project, and Joe Pesci is on board to play Gotti sidekick Angelo Ruggiero. Lindsay Lohan is in talks to play Gotti's daughter Victoria.
The My Cousin Vinny star has signed on to co-star in Gotti: Three Generations, which will be directed by Nick Cassavetes.
Travolta will play the mob boss in the project, while Pesci will portray Gotti deputy Angelo Ruggiero.
Pesci tells WENN, "I'm really happy to be making this picture with my good friend Nick Cassavetes. It's going to be a great experience and a rare opportunity to look inside the life of Gotti."
Travolta's daughter Ella Bleu will also have a featured role in the film, according to a release from the producers at Fiore Films.
Lindsay Lohan is also in negotiations for a role as Travolta's onscreen daughter, Victoria, in the biopic.
Producer Marc Fiore confirms, "Lindsay is a terrific actress. Nothing has been finalised, but we are definitely in talks."
And she already has a fan in the real life Victoria Gotti.
She says, "I think she's incredible. I think she's a great actress. I think she can do... any role, really."