Ray Liotta’s Best Role Happened During A Tragic Time In His Life – SlashFilm


In GQ’s oral history of “Goodfellas,” the subject of Liotta’s mother also came up. Illeana Douglas, who appeared in the film, said: “Ray was on the fast track to becoming a movie star, but I think that real-life insecurities and family things that he was experiencing were playing out in real time on-camera. And I’m sure Marty was aware of that, and not being mean but using it to his advantage.”

Liotta added: “You’re dealing with real anger. My mom had cancer, and she was dying. There was a lot of anger about her being sick.” In fact, Liotta channeled his anger as his mother’s illness during a scene where his character pistol-whips someone. “I was wound up,” Liotta said. “I might have gotten a phone call about my mom. That guy was nervous. He was, like, a Juilliard guy.”

Ultimately, Liotta’s mom died in the middle of filming. “I remember we were in the club shooting when somebody got the phone call and had to tell him,” said Deborah Lupard, the film’s Second Assistant Director. “I remember how stoic he was about it, and how professional. I think he left the set until he could breathe and get on with it, and then he finished working.” You can definitely feel a rawness to Liotta’s performance, and he likely brought his own pain into the role of Henry Hill. Ray Liotta died in 2022. He is missed. 

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