John Gotti got his nickname, “The Teflon Don,” because it took forever for lawyers to get charges to stick. Armand Assante, the actor who played the iconic New York City outlaw in HBO’s original crime film Gotti: The Rise and Fall of a Real Life Mafia Don, is also in for the long haul. Assante will reprise his role in the upcoming Gotti Il: The Final Chapter, Facts Undisputed, it was announced at the event “Gotti: The Reunion,” which kicked off the MobMovieCon and SopranosCon weekend at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Atlantic City.
“Gotti II, the long-awaited sequel to the 1996 multiple PrimeTime Emmy Award-winning Gotti, will be made and will begin filming immediately,” Michael Mota, CEO of VirtualCons, said in a statement. “Returning in the title role is Armand Assante, the celebrated actor who took home the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special Emmy for his powerful, moving portrayal of John Gotti. I might add that Armand serves as Chairman of the Board of VirtualCons.”
Gotti II will be produced by Vision Studios’ John Arreola (The Jerry Springer Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show), Arnold Rifkin (Tears of the Sun, 16 Blocks, (Live Free or Die Hard), and presented by 3fams, LLC in association with VirtualCons. The script will be written by Nick Vallelonga, “who co-wrote and produced Green Book, and who received Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture Academy Awards for his contributions to that unforgettable and already iconic film,” enthused Mota, who is Executive Producer of the Gotti sequel.
Mota also announced the production’s key advisor, John A. Gotti. “He is an unrivaled living repository of fact regarding the life and times of his father,” Mota said in a statement, “a surgeon of sorts who cuts away the malignancies of falsehoods, innuendos, and slander to reveal the truth about the man who raised him, the man whose name he carries, the man to whom he is devoted.
“John’s mission is to tell his father’s story factually and comprehensively, which is precisely why he has come to us in our shared capacity as storytellers. He understands that with Gotti II we will deliver the truth via the powerful vehicle of dramatic fiction. He knows that the Gotti fictions written and told as fact by so-called authorities are best described as bogeyman tales – fables cynically designed to keep an under-informed citizenry scared and willing to excuse the many illegal and immoral excesses of their self-proclaimed ‘honorable’ protectors.”
Gotti Jr. comes to the production bearing further gifts. “John has granted the producers and creative corps of Gotti II unfettered access to his family archives, including hundreds of hours of video and audio tapes and thousands of pages of public, private, and even allegedly secret documents,” Mota said. “The only promise we make to John and, by extension, his family is one of honesty throughout the storytelling process. He has willingly accepted our assurance that punches will not be pulled, and he acknowledges that corrective surgery is never bloodless, but, when done with skill and honor, almost always effective.”
The Gotti II creative team also announced the production of a documentary “thoroughly informed by the Gotti archives.” The producers plan to convert the former Ravenite Social Club, the 247 Mulberry Street space that is commonly described as the Manhattan headquarters of the Gambino crime family during the 1970s and 1980s, into a museum. “The space will display items from the aforementioned Gotti archives and interactively tell a true story undiminished by official and cultural disinformation,” Mota said.
Gotti: The Rise and Fall of a Real Life Mafia Don was directed by Robert Harmon. It was the highest rated original film for HBO when it first aired in 1996, and its success led to the greenlighting of The Sopranos. Tony Sirico, Vincent Pastore, and Dominic Chianese, who portrayed Gambino underboss Joseph “Piney” Armone, were all major players. Gotti also starred William Forsythe as Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, Anthony Quinn as Gotti’s mentor Aniello Dellacroce, and Robert Miranda as consigliere Frank DeCicco.
Assante, Chianese, Forsythe, and Miranda were all on hand for the announcement, which was made during “Gotti: The Reunion”, the opening event at the newly merged MobMovieCon and SopranosCon. Before the Teflon tag stuck, real life John Gotti was known as the Dapper Don. Besides his obvious street cred, he had a reputation as a man who knew how to throw a block party.
The MobMovieCon and SopranosCon weekend at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Atlantic City recreates the feel, and taste, of city festivals, in an immersive experience for gangster movie fans. The event started as a convention for fans of The Sopranos, and brings a special New Jersey flavor to their celebration of cinematic crime classics. Between screenings and celebrations of films like The Godfather, Scarface, Goodfellas, The Irishman, and Gotti, visitors can nibble sausage and peppers, zeppoli or as much cannoli as it takes to bring home a prize.
The weekend culminates with the very first Mob Movie Awards, which will be hosted by Ice T on Sunday July 25.
MobMovieCon runs in Atlantic City through July 25 at Harrah’s Resort. Tickets start at $50 for general admission and $75 for a two-day pass. VIP tickets cost up to $1,000.