Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Joey Merlino working with Leo Rossi on a biopic.

Not to be outdone by former mob boss Ralph Natale, who is working on a memoir, it turns out that Joey Merlino, who was just released from a Florida halfway house and whom Natale testified against, has been talking to veteran actor and screenwriter Leo Rossi about writing a movie about his life.

Joey Merlino working with Leo Rossi on a biopic.

Not to be outdone by former mob boss Ralph Natale, who is working on a memoir, it turns out that Joey Merlino, who was just released from a Florida halfway house and whom Natale testified against, has been talking to veteran actor and screenwriter Leo Rossi about writing a movie about his life.

On Friday, Trenton born/Northeast raised Rossi confirmed that he has had six phone conversations with Merlino, who he says "has got a great sense of humor." Rossi says that he and Merlino are both trying to line up financing for a possible biopic about the jailed mob boss. Rossi, who recently scripted "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father," on which he collaborated with gangster John Gotti Jr. about his late father, says he knows that he'll be asked whether he thinks that Merlino is "out of the life." He doesn't care.

"It's not for me to figure out," said Rossi, who writes a column for Philadelphia Row Home magazine. "My job is to make a kick-ass picture."

The Gotti film, starring John Travolta as John Gotti and Ben Foster as John Gotti Jr., and also featuring Al Pacino and Chazz Palminteri, will be directed by Barry Levinson and starts shooting in January in New York. Rossi, a Villanova grad, has been seen in films such as "Analyze This," "Relentless" and "The Accused."

Read more from our column in Monday's Daily News.

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Molly Eichel
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