Joe Johnston Takes On Gotti

Directing Travolta's gangster biopic

John Travolta, John Gotti

Proving that you can't keep a good gangster down, after years of struggle Gotti finally has a director. Joe Johnston (The Wolfman, Captain America) has just signed to fill the director's chair vacated first by Nick Cassavetes and subsequently by Barry Levinson. John Travolta, who's been with the project from early on, remains incumbent as the "Dapper Don" John Gotti Sr.

Previously known as Gotti: Three Generations, the film revolves around the Gambini Family mobster convicted in 1992 of murder, extortion, racketeering, loan-sharking, illegal gambling and, just like Al Capone, tax evasion. The all-round goodfella died in prison in 2002.

Previous reports suggest that his story will be viewed from the point-of-view of his son John Jr (yet to be cast) who himself wasn't unknown to the law. He served a nine-year sentence for racketeering, but is now on the straight-and-narrow. He gets the film's story credit, while the screenplay has been knocked into shape by Leo Rossi and Lem Dobbs.

"I think we’ve always been fascinated with the idea of the romantic outlaw," says Johnston. "John Gotti could be in one instance a charismatic, kind and loving family man, and in another, deadly to his enemies. The opportunity to tell the true story of Gotti with John Travolta is a director’s dream.”

"It's been a long time coming," says Travolta, "and I think that Johnston is an exciting and fresh addition to the vision of the film. We are all looking forward to starting production."

Johnston's cameras will start rolling in New York on September 9.