John Travolta‘s trademark smile and charisma go a long way to help him transform into the late John Gotti, nicknamed Teflon Don, for upcoming flick Gotti.
The film, due out in December, will chronicle the mafia kingpin’s rise to power in New York City over the course of three decades. In a new trailer released Tuesday, Travolta-as-Gotti exudes confidence as he intones over flashing scenes of the city, “New York is the greatest city in the world – my city.”
“I was a kid in these streets, and I made it to the top,” he continues.
In the two-minute trailer, Travolta is at times showboating in fancy suits and ties, at other times looking grim and worn in prison garb. The film also features Kelly Preston, Travolta’s real-life wife, as Gotti’s wife Victoria; Chris Kerson (True Detective) as Willie Boy Johnson; and Spencer Lofranco (King Cobra) as Gotti’s son, John Gotti, Jr.
“There are nice cars and fancy suits in the movie, but we’re also showing where all that eventually leads,” director Kevin Connolly – of Entourage fame – told Entertainment Weekly. Though HBO made a Gotti movie in 1996, “his death, which was horrible, hasn’t been covered too much,” Connolly added. (Gotti was acquitted in three separate criminal trials before he was eventually convicted of murder in 1992. He died of cancer in prison at the age of 61).
In an interview with ABC News last September, Travolta said that he sometimes wore some of the late Gotti’s real accessories during filming to get into character.
“I got to wear his real jewelry,” he said at the time. “In several of the scenes I’m wearing his real ties.”
Watch the trailer for Gotti above. The film is set to hit theaters on December 15th.