John Travolta is calling out the nature of the reports that his John Gotti biopic, in which he plays the notorious mobster, will no longer be released just 10 days before it was set to come out on Dec. 15.
Movie studio Lionsgate sold the film Gotti back to the production company Emmett/Furla/Oasis, according to multiple reports on Tuesday, thus scrapping its planned release later this month. On Wednesday, Travolta called the reports that his movie was abruptly pulled "grossly wrong."
“Unfortunately, the reports were speculation bordering on fake news,” Travolta tells 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. [Producer] Ed [Walson] is a fan of mine and of the Gotti story and really wanted to see the movie. I invited his group, they saw it and bought it. That is the simple explanation for this."
The 63-year-old actor stresses that the film "wasn't dropped."
"It wasn’t easy to get Lionsgate to give it up," he explains. "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, to purchase back the film from Lionsgate. Our mistake was we should have said something right then and discussed our plan for the film. We didn’t anticipate this speculation that is so grossly wrong.”
Entourage star Kevin Connolly, who directed Gotti, also slammed a report regarding the film on Twitter.
In the film, Travolta plays the head of the Gambino crime family, once the largest and most powerful crime organization in the country. Gotti was convicted in 1992 and died in prison in 2002 while serving a life sentence. Gotti's son, John Jr., is one of the film's executive producers.
Last September, ET spoke to Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston -- who plays Gotti's wife, Victoria, in the film -- about channeling the real-life couple.
"We have the friendship and we have the rapport, so you can see the intimacy," Preston told ET about why the two were suited for the roles.
"For us to be in a movie where we're playing other people is so much fun, and that's what we kind of live for -- to have that creative experience together," Travolta added.
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