LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Frank J. Russo has worn a number of hats during his long career; from pioneering efforts in sports promotion, Russo went on to promote concerts by artists such as Pavarotti, The Stones and Springsteen. Now, according to Variety, Russo plans to try his hand in the movie biz.
The project that launched Russo in this new endeavor is a script he acquired for a biopic of criminal mastermind Charles "Charlie Lucky" Luciano, the storied New York underworld figure.
Luciano was the first boss of the Genovese crime family and a key figure in the reformation of the New York underworld into the Commission which was originally composed of the five major New York crime families but eventually grew in influence to a national scale.
What is less known about Luciano was his cooperation with the Federal Government during World War 2 in both securing the waterfront of New York against German saboteurs and making contacts in Sicily to assist in the allied invasion of that island. After the war, Luciano was pardoned and released from a long prison sentence but deported back to Italy for his troubles by New York Gov. Thomas Dewey.
The script, written by by Joe Cortese, covers Luciano's rise to power and his rivalries both with other crime figures and Dewey.
"I wasn't aware of how involved Luciano was with Dewey," Russo told Variety, "Joe wrote a compelling screenplay, and I wrote a seven-figure check."
According to Variety, Russo is off to a good start with his new endeavor, bringing aboard experienced production manager Fred Caruso, ("The Godfather") and score wiz Bill Conti. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writer