NEW YORK — John Travolta and Kelly Preston didn’t just receive the Gotti family’s blessing to make a biopic about the late, infamous crime boss, they also were fed well, in true Italian style.
“Victoria Gotti made us a gorgeous spread one afternoon. It was awesome,” recalled Travolta at the film’s premiere Thursday.
“We’ve had quite a few meals. Quite a few great Italian meals,” added Preston, who plays Gotti’s wife, Victoria. “Victoria cooked us dinner, an amazing dinner in the same house that she and John lived in for many years, and the family was in and out and we spent all day long together and it was wonderful and then we’ve had other meals together. We had a great meal just when we landed here four or five days ago after the whole family had seen the film and that was incredible because they loved it. That was thrilling.”
John Gotti, who died in prison in 2002, was head of the Gambino crime family and was convicted of murder and racketeering in 1992. “Gotti,” which opens in the United States on Friday, has been in the works for years, with even Lindsay Lohan in the running to play the mobster’s daughter in an early iteration. Travolta says the end result is worth it.
“Good things are worth waiting for and we were waiting for this and I think all the time we waited, we built up such a plethora of information and we found out how to design the film itself and I think we had time to work on the characters and be better at what we did, so I think it’s a different film if we had done it then, than now and a better one.”
The actor says one of the things viewers will take away from the film is how popular Gotti was.
“Unlike (John) Dillinger and (Al) Capone, Gotti was loved and I discovered why he was loved. He was actually like a local Robin Hood, he was a good will factor to many situations, whether it was putting businesses back in the black, and profit again or supporting families that weren’t doing well, or neighborhood celebrations, so they loved him on a personal level,” Travolta said.
The movie “Gotti” was sanctioned by the family, and some critics say it’s too sympathetic and favorable toward a mafia boss.
ALICIA RANCILIO, Associated Press