CATEGORIES Movies
While you were sleeping, Chazz Palminteri signed up to play a Mafia don, again; Aretha Franklin decided to block the release of a never-before-seen Sydney Pollack documentary on the creation of the grandmother of soul's 1972 album 'Amazing Grace'; Kino Lorber will re-release a controversial rock soundtrack version of 'Metropolis'; and more. Catch up with Wednesday night's news here.

Rat-a-tat-tat. Chazz Palminteri has joined 'Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father,' the John Gotti/Mafia biopic that begins shooting in New York in January. Palminteri will take the role of Mafia don Paul Castellano (a role he played once before, in the 2001 TNT movie 'Boss of Bosses'), the one-time head of the Gambino crime family. The film, written by James Toback, stars John Travolta, Al Pacino, Kelly Preston and Ben Foster and is being directed by Barry Levinson. The film, by the way, already has had several casualties: Nick Cassavetes had to leave the director's chair because of scheduling conflicts, Lindsay Lohan was set to star but is no longer in the cast, and Joe Pesci is suing the production, saying he gained 30 pounds for one role -- and then was offered another. [TheWrap]

Sydney Pollack, concert director? Apparently Pollack made a documentary film in 1972 on the making of Aretha Franklin's live gospel album of the same name and it's been sitting unseen for 39 years. Recently, film composer Alan Elliott claims to have retained rights to the footage from Warner Bros. and he wants to release the concert film this year "in honor of Sydney," according to TMZ. But Franklin doesn't want to have anything to do with it -- and doesn't want her image to be shown without her premission -- so she's hired lawyers to block the release of the film. By the way, the 'Amazing Grace' double album, recorded at L.A.'s New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, is Franklin's biggest selling album and the top-selling gospel album of all time. [Deadline]

What do you get when you merge a silent film classic with rock music? Oscar-winning composer Giorgio Moroder's 1984 version of Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis,' featuring music by Pat Benatar, Freddie Mercury, Bonnie Tyler, Billy Squier, Adam Ant, Jon Anderson and others. The film caused quite a stir among classicists, who cringed at the soundtrack and its shortened running time. But audiences loved it. The film has been out of print for years due to music rights issues, but theatrical and DVD distributor Kino Lorber has closed a deal to bring that version to Blu-ray and DVD, with plans on playing it theatrically in 20 cities before the November 15 street date. The version will be titled 'Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis.' [The Hollywood Reporter]

The Fernando Meirelles-directed '360,' starring Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and Anthony Hopkins, will open this year's BFI London Film Festival. Inspired by Arthur Schnitzler's ('Eyes Wide Shut') classic 'La Ronde,' the film combines a modern roundelay of stories into one, linking characters from different cities and countries in a suspenseful tale of love in the 21st century. Starting in Vienna, the film weaves through Paris, London, Bratislava, Rio, Denver and Phoenix into a single narrative. The festival runs Oct. 12-27. [THR]

The American Film Institute has announced the date for its­ AFI Awards 2011, which honors the most outstanding achievements in film, television and other forms of the moving image arts. Each year the organization polls a unique jury comprised of experts from the moving image communities, including scholars, critics, film and television artists and AFI Trustees. There are no single winners or losers: AFI honors the talented teams that created the 10 most outstanding films and 10 most outstanding television programs of the year. This year's event will be held Jan. 13, 2012.

But wait, there's more:

'True Blood' star Alexander Skarsgard, Frank Grillo, Colin Ford and Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist are attached to star in Henry Alex Rubin's indie drama 'Disconnect.' [Full story]

Read about Pixar's rejected 'Toy Story' titles. [Full story]

Clifton Collins is cast in 'Pacific Rim.' [Full story]

Seven new clips from 'Shark Night 3D' [Full story]

Footage of the new CGI Yoda from the 'Phantom Menace' Blu-ray. [Full story]

'Conan the Barbarian' screenwriter chimes in on what it's like to write a box office flop. [Full story]

Alex Winter is making a documentary about Napster. [Full story]

First poster for 'The Artist.' [Full story]

Remake rights for 69 Kurosawa films are being negotiated. [Full story]

Hilarious deleted scene from 'X-Men: First Class.' [Full story]