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Martin Scorsese "regrets" never working with Ray Liotta again


Passing away on May 26th, the actor and beloved Hollywood star Ray Liotta has received tributes from across the world since his death, with the filmmaker Martin Scorsese writing an ode to the icon in a new column. 

In a piece for The Guardian, Scorsese recalled, “We had some problems trying to get Goodfellas made. It came at a low moment in my career and the studios were not exactly eager to work with me”. Liotta eventually starred in the 1990 classic alongside co-stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco, though this wasn’t until a tricky pre-production for the movie. 

Indeed, one of the director’s biggest issues was the casting of lead character Henry Hill, with Scorsese explaining, “the part required a rare combination of qualities. He needed to be dangerous. He needed to be disarming. He needed to be vulnerable. Within the context of the world we were dealing with, he had to be something close to an innocent, the guy who was always there, witnessing everything, along for the ride”. 

Coming down to a shortlist of names, Scorsese and his team eventually went for Liotta, with the rest being cinematic history, leading the film to become an iconic crime genre piece. 

Despite being inextricably linked to Scorsese and his 1990 movie, many thought it was unusual that the pair never worked with each other again, with the director stating, “I regret that now”. Consistent bad timing seemed to get in the way of the pair working together again, though this didn’t stop the filmmaker’s admiration for Liotta. 

Watching him in the Oscar-winning Noah Baumbach drama Marriage Story, Scorsese recalls his delight at seeing him perform so well, explaining, “he’s genuinely scary in the role, which is precisely why he’s so funny – I remember feeling that I wanted to work with him again at this point in his life, to explore the gravity in his presence, so different from the young, sprightly actor he was when I met him”. 

Concluding the article, Scorsese leaves a loving tribute to his friend and colleague, clarifying just how much Liotta meant to him, “I wish I’d had the chance to see him just once more, too – to tell him just how much the work we did together meant to me. But maybe he knew that. I hope so”.