John Travolta told Deadline he is upset that fast-spreading news reports twisted the truth as Lionsgate pulled his upcoming film Gotti off its release calendar 10 days before its bow. He worried the reports marginalized what he considers one of his better performances as the iconic Gambino crime family head John Gotti in the Kevin Connolly-directed film.
Given how the subject matter lends itself to phrases from mob movies, it’s easy to see how the blogosphere might speculate this film would, well, sleep with the fishes. The truth is far different, Travolta said.
“Unfortunately, the reports were speculation bordering on fake news,” Travolta told Deadline. “Lionsgate was planning on a minimal release, and I did an investigation into people who might have the interest and financial wherewithal to better release it. Ed is a fan of mine and of the Gotti story and really wanted to see the movie. I invited his group, they saw it and bought it. That is the simple explanation for this.
It wasn’t dropped. It wasn’t easy to get Lionsgate to give it up. They said no, twice, and I literally begged them to reconsider and they finally and generously let it go. We signed this deal about three weeks ago, to purchase back the film from Lionsgate. Our mistake was we should have said something right then and discussed our plan for the film. We didn’t anticipate this speculation that is so grossly wrong.”
“This is a big movie-star film, with a multi-dimensional, iconic character portrayed by one of the great multi-talented actors. We are hoping to take this movie to Cannes; it’s a movie-star film that deserves the glitter of Cannes and then a wide release shortly thereafter.”
Travolta and Walson said they are near a deal with a significant distributor they wouldn’t divulge, to facilitate that. They will submit to Cannes as an official submission, but they hope the film will premiere on the Croisette one way or another.