Joe Pesci s suing the makers of 'Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father', claiming a $3 million pay deal to star in the film was dropped in favour of a $1 million contract for a lesser role.
Joe Pesci is suing the makers of 'Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father'.
The Oscar-winning actor filed a lawsuit yesterday (27.07.11) alleging he agreed an oral contract of $3 million to portray Anglo Ruggiero - for which he put on 30lbs - but after initially promoting the project alongside co-stars John Travolta and Al Pacino, he claims producers Fiore Films instead asked him to play the smaller role of Anthony 'Gaspipe' Casso with a pay deal of just $1 million.
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 to later concoct some pretext for terminating the contract so as to avoid paying plaintiff anything for the substantial publicity and 'buzz' that was generated."
However, Fiore Films CEO Mark Fiore insists Joe walked away from the project before any deal was completed and claims he is even considering counter-suing as the actor never signed any contract to appear in the film.
He told E! News "He's got nothing in writing and I guess he is looking for publicity to be honest with you.
"He certainly doesn't have a contract from us. We were moving forward. We had come to an understanding."
According to Mark, Joe was brought in to the film by Nick Cassavetes, but after the filmmaker left the project, the actor said he did not want to finalise a deal until a replacement director was on board.
He added: "We told him April 28 that if that is their stance, then we have to pull the offer. It's all documented."
The executive is also perplexed by Joe's claims he piled on the pounds in preparation for the original role.
He said: "I don't know why he would gain 30 pounds.
"I don't know who told him to gain 30 pounds. It certainly wasn't me. Why would you gain 30 pounds when you have on your manager's desk on April 28 that we pulled the offer, why would you continue to gain weight? Honestly that doesn't seem very rational."
'Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father' is scheduled to begin production on January 3.