AceShowbiz - John Travolta is speaking up against multiple reports regarding the status of his John Gotti biopic. Movie studio Lionsgate sold "Gotti" back to production company Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, according to reports on Tuesday, December 5, leading some reports to suggest that the movie's release was scrapped just 10 days before the film was set to come out on December 15.
On Wednesday, Travolta released a statement to Deadline in which he called the reports that his movie was "abruptly" pulled "grossly wrong." "Unfortunately, the reports were speculation bordering on fake news," the 63-year-old Oscar-nominated actor said.
He then explained to the site that "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. [Producer] Ed [Walson] 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 easy to get Lionsgate to give it up," said Travolta, continuing to explain, "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." According to the actor, "Our mistake was we should have said something right then and discussed our plan for the film," adding, "We didn't anticipate this speculation that is so grossly wrong."
Walson also said, "I've been struggling for the past few weeks with John, and Phil Glasser, to put this deal together with Lionsgate, which wasn't initially ready to give it up." The producer noted, "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."
WRONG!!!! https://t.co/6GVK6b60Mv— Kevin Connolly (@mrkevinconnolly) December 6, 2017
In the film, Travolta plays the head of the Gambino crime family, once the largest and most powerful crime organization in the country. Gotti was acquitted in three separate criminal trials before he was eventually convicted of murder in 1992. He died of cancer in prison in 2002 at the age of 61. Gotti's son, John Gotti Jr., is one of the film's executive producers.