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Martin Scorsese Opens Up About ‘Regret’ After Not Working With Ray Liotta Again Following Goodfellas

Ray Liotta in Goodfellas
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Tragic news occurred when beloved actor Ray Liotta, the star of 1990's Goodfellas, died in his sleep. He won the hearts of audiences when he played Henry Hill, an innocent youngster who becomes fascinated by the Mafia life existing in his Brooklyn neighborhood, and Goodfellas now stands as one of Liotta's best movies. Losing someone has a tendency of making you think of all of the things you wish you told that person or wish you got to have more time with. After learning about the tragic death of Ray Liotta, Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese expressed his regret about not working with him again after Goodfellas. 

With the amazing work Ray Liotta delivered for Goodfellas, it is a shock to know that was the only collaboration between him and Martin Scorsese. The director spoke to The Guardian about his regret in not doing another project with Ray Liotta again after Goodfellas and what his reasoning for that was.

We had many plans to work together again but the timing was always off, or the project wasn’t quite right. I regret that now. When I watched Ray as the divorce lawyer in Marriage Story – 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.

After being in Field of Dreams and Goodfellas, these two films were enough to change Rya Liotta's newbie status and join the ranks of many accomplished actors. Liotta worked with very successful actors like Whoopi Goldberg in Corrina and Denzel Washington in John Q. He would eventually land the role of Tommy Vercetti in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, as well as two movies with The Muppets. Liotta also continued to pave his way in the crime genre with HBO Max crime thrillers No Sudden Move and the Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark. We will still be able to see this cherished actor in his final roles like director Elizabeth Banks’ “insane” Cocaine Bear movie in February 2023 and the AppleTV+ miniseries Black Bird which will debut this July.

To say Martin Scorsese had a successful filmmaking career after Goodfellas would be an understatement. Some of Scorsese's best movies include crime thrillers like The Departed, Casino, and The Wolf of Wall Street. He has also made critically acclaimed historical dramas like Gangs of New York and Hugo. Scorsese's latest film will be the Western crime drama Killers of the Flower Moon which is to be released on Apple TV+ this November. It’s a shame Martin Scorsese wasn't able to find a place for Ray Liotta in his star-studded crime drama The Irishman, which had a reunion of well-known crime genre actors like Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino. 

The Raging Bull director continued to say in his heartfelt tribute about what a “fearless” actor Ray Liotta was, and how despite being new on-set, “he never missed a beat.” It’s a beautiful thing for the working chemistry of an actor to be so strong that it feels like you have been working with each other for years. A number of other actors who have worked with Ray Liotta shared wonderful tributes after hearing of his death like Kevin Costner, who worked with him in Field of Dreams; Jennifer Lopez who co-starred with him in Shades of Blue; and Jacy Nittolo, his fiancée who expressed in her tribute how much Liotta meant to her.

Martin Scorsese concluded his tribute by hoping Ray Liotta knew how much their work together meant to him. He will be missed by his fans and anyone who has had the privilege to know him. You can watch Ray Liotta’s stellar performance in Goodfellas with your HBO Max subscription.

Carly Levy
Carly Levy

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.