John Travolta Says ”Fake News” Caused His Film Gotti To Be Pulled 10 Days Before Its Release
John Travolta is voicing his disappointment after Lionsgate pulled his upcoming film, Gotti, from its release.
The mafia flick was pulled 10 days before it was scheduled to hit theaters, which Travolta believes was due to “fake news” and speculation that the film would sink.
“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.”
Travolta believes Gotti is worthy of a bigger release than was originally planned, and thus, he ended up seeking Edward Walson to help buy out Lionsgate for the rights to the film.
“Ed is a fan of mine and of the Gotti story and really wanted to see the movie,” Travolta continued. “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…[But] we didn’t anticipate this speculation that is so grossly wrong.”
Walson reciprocated Travolta’s feelings.
“Not knowing anything about the release plans, I saw the film and loved it, especially John’s portrayal as Gotti,” he told Deadline. “It’s a supreme piece of work I thought deserves proper recognition. Having produced eight films, I’ve seen the frustration that sometimes happens when distributors don’t think of out-of-the-box ways to promote a movie…I thought, ‘Here is an opportunity to take a magnificent movie, and get it seen.'”
Speaking of Travolta’s role, he plays John Gotti, in an Italian-American gangster who became the boss of the Gambino crime family in New York City in the ’70s.
“There was a very humane part of him,” Travolta said in describing the role. “But this movie focuses on the truth of how you behave when you are head of a group that is set up to behave notoriously.”
He continued, “There is a balancing act that I loved being able to play—this smart, clever genius mafia guy who at the same time had this strong sense of family, where he cared deeply about his wife and children. I think it’s the first time you really see that true dichotomy, and I believe it helps you understand how his world worked and why he became such an iconic part of gangster history.”