Oscar-nominee Matt Dillon will play former Chicago mob boss John (Johnny the Fox) Torrio and Sopranos and House of Cards alum Al Sapienza will play one-time Chicago mob captain Ralph (Bottles) Capone in the upcoming film Fonzo about the final years of legendary American mafia icon Al Capone’s life. Torrio was one of Capone’s gangland mentors. Bottles Capone was his older brother and his conduit to the crime family he built in Illinois when he was living in retirement in Florida throughout the 1940s, his mind being ate away by a bout with syphilis.

Versatile actor Tom Hardy is cast as Capone. Hardy was born and raised in Great Britain and received an Oscar nod for his role as the antagonist in 2015’s The Revenant. He’ll be the lead in the heavily-anticipated Spiderman spin-off Venom this summer.

Fonzo, written and directed by Josh Trank (Chronicle, Fantastic Four), is currently shooting in New Orleans. Capone, America’s first celebrity gangster of the modern media age, was the face of organized crime in the country during the Prohibition era. He was eventually imprisoned for tax evasion in 1931. When he was released in November 1939, he left the life of a racket boss behind him and moved permanently down to his palatial estate in Miami, where he remained until his death of natural causes in 1947. The film will focus mainly on Capone’s time living in South Florida, while featuring flashback sequences to his heyday leading the mob in the Windy City in the 1920s.

Dillon was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Supporting Actor category for the 2004 movie Crash, playing a racist cop. He’ll portray the wily and highly-respected Torrio, who brought Capone to Chicago from New York in 1919 to work for him and Windy City Godfather James (Big Jim) Colosimo, Torrio’s uncle via marriage. The following year, Torrio, with help from Capone, arranged Colosimo’s assassination and took his place as top dog in the Chicago mafia (his photo can be seen in this story’s cover image).

Torrio started the bloody street war with the city’s Irish mob that Capone finished with the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in February 1929. Upon Torrio surviving an assassination attempt in 1925 and going into retirement in Europe and then back east in New York, Capone ascended to the throne and became a staple in newspaper headlines across the world. Torrio dropped dead of a heart attack in the spring of 1957 in a Brooklyn barber shop.

A seasoned character actor, Sapienza is best known for portraying Mikey Palmice in The Sopranos on television. Palmice was aging Mafioso Junior Soprano’s driver, bodyguard and main enforcer. The Palmice character was killed off in the Season 1 finale. Sapienza also had a story arc in the smash-hit Netflix series House of Cards, as well as in many other network and premium cable TV shows.

His character in Fonzo, Bottles Capone, ran the Chicago mob’s non-alcoholic beverage business, specifically, a series of bottling plants, at the peak of Prohibition, hence his colorful nickname. As one of his brother’s primary lieutenants, in 1930, authorities in Chicago dubbed him the city’s Public Enemy No. 3 (Al Capone was No. 1). After his baby bro’s release from prison, he was responsible for ferrying Outfit powers and statesmen from other crime families around the nation down to the Capone Palm Island compound in Miami in order for them to pay their ceremonial respects to the infirmed mob don known in the press as “Scarface.”

Bottles Capone semi-retired to Wisconsin following his brother’s death. He himself died of natural causes in 1974. The elder Capone was responsible for aiding the enacting of legislation which required expiration dates be put on all milk and dairy-related cartons being sold by retail outlets.

Ralph “Bottles” Capone

 

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