Actor Frank Sivero played the character Frankie Carbone in the movie Goodfellas. That movie is about a cast of real-life characters, Jimmy Burke, Henry Hill, et. al. Sivero’s character is based on the mobster Angelo Sepe.
Now, although Sivero was portraying a real person, he’s claiming that The Simpsons stole from his Goodfellas character (who remind you, he based off an actual person) to create the fictional mobster Louie, who is part of Fat Tony’s crime syndicate.
His reasoning? Sivero says he lived near some Simpsons writers while he was prepping to play the role of Carbone.
Ipso, Italian mobster facto, something, hocus pocus, now he believes he’s owed $250 million. From The Guardian:
Sivero played Frankie Carbone in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 mobster drama, memorably getting upbraided by Robert De Niro’s James for being too flashy with his money. The suit claims that Sivero was familiar to Simpsons producer James L Brooks, and that he lived next to writers of The Simpsons in 1989 as he was preparing for Goodfellas: “They saw each other almost every day … they were aware the entire character of Frankie Carbone was created and developed by Sivero, who based this character on his own personality.” Sivero claims the Carbone character entirely as his own, and says he wasn’t working from a script.
Right, just the real-life person his character was based off of. Still, he demands his moneys.
Sivero is claiming the money on the grounds of the producers appropriating his “confidential idea” for the character, as well as for “loss of likeness” and being subsequently typecast. He also claims that Gracie Films, The Simpsons’ production company, promised him that he “would be part of the future” and that they would make a film together, which never transpired. Fox is yet to comment on the suit.
The character of Louie has been around for 23 years. So this probably has nothing to do with The Simpsons selling their syndication rights for $750 million last year. Probably nothing at all. Anyway, here’s Sivero as Carbone.
Maybe he’s got a case.