By Adam B. Vary
July 27, 2011 at 12:00 PM EDT
Bobby Bank/Getty Images

Actor Joe Pesci is suing Fiore Films, the production company behind the John Gotti biopic Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father, for $3 million, reports the Associated Press. The suit alleges that the company used Pesci’s name to drum up interest in the project, only to rescind an offer for Pesci to play Gotti enforcer and childhood friend Angelo Ruggiero. The 68-year-old actor (pictured here at a May 2010 event) also claims he gained 30 pounds for the role.

John Travolta is attached to play the title role of the notorious New York mobster in the film, which is set to start production in January with director Barry Levinson. Other confirmed stars include Al Pacino, Lindsay Lohan, and Kelly Preston. Levinson and James Toback (who penned Levinson’s 1991 gangster film Bugsy) are writing the screenplay.

UPDATE: When reached by the AP, Mike Fiore, CEO of Fiore Films, claimed it was Pesci who had pulled out of the project, when the original director, Nick Cassavetes, left the film in April. Pesci, contends Fiore, said he would not return until Cassavetes was replaced, and then rebuffed attempts by Levinson to reach out to him. “Before we had a deal, Mr. Pesci walked away,” says Fiore, who also contends he’s considering countersuing Pesci. “He’s wasting his time and everybody else’s time. I might be a newbie in town. This newbie is not going to get bulled around.”

Read more:

Al Pacino joins ‘Gotti’ biopic

Lindsay Lohan will play Kim Gotti opposite John Travolta in ‘Gotti’ biopic

‘Gotti’ loses a director, gains critics. Could the film turn the mob boss into an anti-hero?