7/27/2011 4:25 PM PDT

Joe Pesci Sues: I Got Fat and Got Screwed By 'Gotti' Producers

Joe Pesci
is suing the producers of  "Gotti: In the Shadow of My Father," claiming his deal was so iron-clad, he gained 30 pounds for his role, only to be told he wasn't wanted anymore.

In the lawsuit, Pesci claims reps from Fiore Films offered him the critical role of Angelo Ruggiero, Gotti's close friend and enforcer. Pesci says he made a deal for $3 million.

But Pesci says after he was lured into making public statements about how happy he was to appear in the movie -- which stars John Travolta as John Gotti, Jr. -- the producers pulled the deal, claiming Pesci breached the deal by trying to back out.

Pesci claims he was offered a lesser role -- playing Anthony "Gaspipe" Casso -- for the lesser fee of $1 mil.

But this is the best part. Pesci's lawyer claims his client relied on the contract by assuming the character of Ruggiero in every respect: "[Pesci] has since ended his very strict and healthy diet, and has so far gained approximately 30 pounds in anticipation of playing Ruggiero, who was well known for his heavy and stocky build."

Pesci is suing for $3 million minimum, as well as punitive damages.

Producers tell us they are unaware of the lawsuit.