Ray Liotta has starred in some of the best movies of all time, but he doesn’t believe he’s always chosen the best parts. Talking to us on the back of The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, he says he may have been too particular for his own good.
“I’ve handled my career sometimes a little too preciously,” he told us, “so if I played a bad guy, then I want to play a good guy, and then after a while you just say ‘Whatever’s the best part, you do two bad guys in a row, so be it’.” Some of this might stem from the incredible success of 1990 mobster drama movie Goodfellas, in which Liotta plays Henry Hill, a former member of the Mafia who’s caught on drug charges and winds up in witness protection.
It’s easy to be pigeon-holed, and Liotta resisted similar characters, even turning down The Sopranos on at least one occasion. But now he’s back as a mafioso Aldo ‘Hollywood Dick’ Moltisanti in The Many Saints of Newark, and it’s all because of his admiration for David Chase’s work.
“I really wanted to work with somebody as talented as David Chase and Alan Taylor, and I just went after it,” Liotta explains. In the hierarchy of Sopranos families, Aldo is the grandfather of Christopher Montisanti, Tony’s adopted nephew in the show. The thriller movie shines some light on how the two crime families became so intermingled.
Alan Taylor directs the picture, from a script by David Chase and Lawrence Konner. In the cast, Liotta is joined by Jon Bernthal, Alessandro Nivola, Leslie Odom Jr, Michela De Rossi, Michael Gandoflini, and more.
The Many Saints of Newark arrives in theatres September 22. Here are the best Sopranos episodes to watch beforehand, to get you in the mood.