LOS ANGELES — Lindsay Lohan is joining the big screen Gotti family as the wife of John Gotti Jr. in a biopic of one of New York's most infamous families.
She called her casting in "Gotti: Three Generations" a huge honor and told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the film is an opportunity to prove herself as an actress again.
"I'm really excited to be back on set and clear up all the misinterpretations about me and show this is what I love to do," Lohan said.
John Travolta has been cast to play John Gotti Sr., the mob family's patriarch who had a flair for style and a knack for avoiding convictions that earned him the name "Teflon Don." Joe Pesci will play one of his deputies.
The younger Gotti has insisted he left the mob life in the 1990s, but has been unsuccessfully tried four times on racketeering charges.
He sold the rights to his life story to Fiore Films, which is developing the film focusing on Junior Gotti's relationship with his father. It will be shot in New York and is set for a 2012 release.
Lohan made a surprise appearance at a press conference last week and was expected to be in the running to play the elder Gotti's daughter, Victoria. By Wednesday discussions for Lohan playing that role had ended, but the actress successfully lobbied to remain on the project.
"I think it's such an iconic story," Lohan told the AP. "I think it's a great story to be told. I'm honored to be working with John Travolta and Joe Pesci."
Lohan's role as Kim Gotti has parallels to her own life, she said.
"You don't get to see the heart behind the story and the real side of people," she said of most mob movies, which she said veer toward shoot-'em-up fare. "I can relate to that because I think that I've been portrayed in a certain light. I just want to do my best to show what their family really went through."
Like the Gotti family, Lohan is no stranger to criminal troubles. She faces a felony grand theft case in Los Angeles after a jewelry store accused her of stealing a $2,500 necklace, and is due in court for a hearing on Friday.
She has rejected two plea deals in that case with guaranteed jail time, and could be incarcerated for violating her probation on a 2007 drunken driving case.
She said her legal troubles won't be a distraction.
"I think in the past, I had a lot of distractions," she said. "I've learned a lot. I've lived a lot. When I'm on set, it's about the film."
Fiore Films is making a commitment to Lohan, who is a former Disney child star and once headlined films, but for nearly four years has been known more for making the tabloids than acting.
In addition to the Gotti project, Lohan will also appear in "Mob Street," a movie based on a screenplay by Chazz Palminteri.
"We're very pleased to have Lindsay on-board for both of these films," said Marc Fiore, who is executive producer of the "Gotti" film. "She has been very enthusiastic about the Gotti project, and after resuming discussions with her, we were impressed by her commitment to the film and felt she would be the perfect Kim Gotti."
Lohan also said she is excited about filming in her native New York.
"The energy of filming there – it just brings so much more life to the film," she said.