The Goodfellas star signed up to play Angelo Ruggiero, the enforcer of mob boss John Gotti, played by John Travolta.
He agreed to the lucrative deal and claims he was so convinced the film was going ahead with him as a main part, he piled on 30 pounds (13.6 kilograms) for the role.
But in papers filed in a Los Angeles court on Wednesday (27Jul11), Pesci claims bosses reneged on an agreement to cast him.
He states he was subsequently offered $1 million (£625,000) to play a lesser role, but is seeking his agreed pay cheque, as well as damages.
However, bosses at Fiore Films, the studio behind the movie, insist it was Pesci who pulled out of the project after learning the original director had dropped out. Pesci's lawyer denies the claims.