He'll play Aniello "Neil" Dellacroce, the Gambino crime family underboss and associate to Travolta's John Gotti. Dellacroce was allegedly Gotti's mob mentor.
"Al Pacino is one of the finest actors of all time, and will bring an unsurpassed level of reality and excitement to the film," executive produder Marc Fiore said. "We are very pleased to have Al join the extraordinary team that we are assembling to make this movie."
Dellacroce, the reputed second-in-command who was previously convicted for racketeering, was indicted again in 1985 for racketeering charges and allegedly supervising criminal activities of ''crews'' that engaged in loan-sharking, gambling, highjackings and homicides for nearly two decades. Later that year, before the case went to trial, he died of lung cancer at age 71.
The role isn't too much of a stretch for Pacino: The eight-time Oscar nominee has starred in a few other organized-crime films, including "The Godfather" series. He won the lead actor Oscar for his role in 1992's "Scent of a Woman" and scored top acting honors at the recent Emmys and Golden Globes for his role as Jack Kevorkian in HBO's "You Don't Know Jack."
"Gotti: Three Generations" has also signed "Rain Man" director and Academy Award winner Barry Levinson to helm the project; Nick Cassavetes dropped out last month because of a scheduling conflict.
The film also stars Lindsay Lohan, Joe Pesci and Kelly Preston. Travolta and Preston's daughter Ella Bleu will also appear in the biopic, which illuminates the relationship between mob boss Gotti, who died from cancer in 2002 while serving a life sentence in prison, and his son "Junior" Gotti as the latter tries to break away from the infamous family business. "Junior" Gotti sold the rights to his family's story in 2002 and has signed off on the project. He and other Gotti family members appeared at the "Gotti: Three Generations" news conference in April posing for photos with potential cast members.
Production should begin in New York late fall, with a theatrical release in late 2012. No word yet on who will play "Junior" Gotti.
What do you think of the Pacino casting -- are you excited to see him back in the mob game?
-- Nardine Saad
Photo: Al Pacino. Credit: Dan Steinberg / Associated Press