Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

DreamWorks to make movie of former Newark Cop who infiltrated Genovese Crime Family in late 80s

Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks is planning to make a comedy based on the story of former Newark cop Mike Russell,who infiltrated the Jersey mob and secretly filmed them for an HBO show before bringing them down in the late '80s.
Russell's investigation began by chance when he came to the rescue of an older man being attacked by two younger men in North Newark in 1984. The man he saved turned out to be Andrew Gerardo, the head of the crime family that inspired "The Sopranos."
Gerardo befriended Russell and invited him to move his oil-delivery business next to his Newark mob headquarters. Russell began surveillance for state police using hidden cameras to capture card games that netted $1 million a week, as well as loansharking and labor racketeering.
His investigation resulted in the HBO series "Confessions of an Undercover Cop" -- and in 1986, 54 arrests and 48 guilty pleas.
Now Russell, who has moved to Delray Beach, Fla., where he runs a private security firm, has a deal with DreamWorks to make his story into a film starring Jason Segel. Russell, 60, told us, "My HBO documentary came out, but 'Goodfellas,' then 'Donnie Brasco,' then 'The Sopranos' knocked me out of the box. Now this is my time.
"The deal with DreamWorks is done. The producers are Steven Zaillian [who won an Oscar for his screenplay for 'Schindler's List'] and Garrett Basch. Jason Micallef is now writing the script.
"It's going to be a black comedy. I've been shot a couple of times, but it did sometimes get a little comedic. I would trap the door every night, so the next morning I could see if the door was wired to blow.
"I never carried a gun. I had a shotgun in my car . . . I had no backup, I was completely on my own. I used to file my daily police reports from the Meadowlands racetrack. This song and dance act of mine led to 54 arrests and $33 million in RICO seizures by one detective." DreamWorks and reps for Micallef didn't get back to us.


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