Joe Pesci is reportedly suing the producers of the upcoming film Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father for switching his character at the last minute.
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Pesci claims he was first offered the role of Angelo Ruggiero, an enforcer and longtime confidant of John Gotti Sr. – a role that came with a $3 million paycheck. Pesci says he broke his strict diet to beef up to play the character, gaining 30 pounds before producer Fiore Films offered him a lesser role – that of Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso, a mobster who tried to kill Gotti. The smaller role comes with a smaller paycheck, too – just $1 million.
Pesci claims his name was used to garner attention for the movie, and that he had an oral contract to play Angelo Ruggiero.
The lawsuit states, “Defendant has no intention of paying Pesci $3 million or having him portray Ruggiero in the film. Rather plaintiff secretly planned to use Pesci’s name and likeness to promote the film and then later to concoct some pretext for terminating the contract so as to avoid paying plaintiff anything for the substantial publicity and ‘buzz’ that was generated.”
Fiore Films’ CEO, Mark Fiore, however, claims that Pesci walked away before a deal was ever signed – and says he may now file a countersuit since Pesci never actually signed a contract to play ANY role in the movie.
Filming for Gotti is set to begin in January 2012.