Friday Open Thread: Gotti-dome

In honor of our upcoming podcast topic, Fear City, I thought we could talk about various hilariously bad portrayals of John “The Teflon Don” Gotti over the years, by actors from whom you’d expect better. I have actually seen the Travolta Gotti, which is both as bad as you’d expect and more boring, somehow; I’ve seen Godfather III a couple of times, and I’ll have to take Wikipedia’s word on Joe Mantegna’s performance being “inspired” by Gotti because I didn’t get that at all; I’ve seen the Assante version and the Sizemore version (both fairly bad).

But whose is the worst? Without having consumed The Wannabe, I would bet Joseph “Johnny Boy Soprano” Siravo’s portrayal is in the conversation; Siravo has made a nice living getting cast for A Certain Look in this genre, but he’s not a good actor. Assante isn’t an Olivier either but he’s perfect for this role, and yet: nonstop prosciutt’ from him. So maybe the question isn’t whose Gotti is the worst, but why a good Gotti is so difficult to achieve — do actors and directors rely too much on doing an impression? is the Venn of “decent thespian” and “suggests Gotti in the looks department” just not a big overlap?

And whom would we cast instead? (“Tom Hardy!!” - Margaret.) The clock has probably run out on Vincent “Johnny Sack” Curatola’s taking on the role, but there’s a bunch of Sopranos alums who would have been great (Frank Vincent, Dan “Patsy” Grimaldi, Van Zandt, Ray Abruzzo, John Fiore…).