Ray Liotta To Play A Corrupt Cop In Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines

Ray Liotta is like a scientist who discovered the cure for cancer but forgot to write down the formula, so he spends the rest of his life trying to recreate it. In 1990, the actor starred in what is widely considered to be one of the greatest gangster films of all time, Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas, but in the nearly 50 films since hasn't found a project even close to the same level of quality. Perhaps the missing part of that equation is working with another terrific director, and here's hoping he has found that in Derek Cianfrance.

Liotta is set to play a corrupt cop (again) in Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines, according to Variety. The film, which is the director's follow-up to last year's incredible Blue Valentine, is about a motorcycle racer - played by Ryan Gosling - who starts robbing banks and goes head-to-head with a young cop - played by Bradley Cooper - who wants to take him down. When I spoke to Cianfrance last December, he told me that the project has been four years in the making and that the film begins with Gosling finding out that he's a father. Initially describing the movie as involving motorcycles and guns, the filmmaker wants to show violence in an unfiltered way and how horrific it can be. Said Cianfrance,

"Blue Valentine is a very emotionally violent movie and so difficult, so I want to put guns in this one and show just the cowardly nature of guns and how chicken-shit they are, basically, and to show the reverberations of guns. It’s just like the sexuality of Blue Valentine, I wanted to look at it straight, I wanted to look at it without a filter, without a sensationalized filter, without trying to make it erotic or titillating. I just wanted to look at it as part of the character. There’s sexuality in Pines too, and violence. The violence is going to hurt. It’s not easy violence; it’s not violence that’s taken lightly. It’s violence that’s violent."

Between the plot lines about a motorist moonlighting as a criminal, Ryan Gosling's involvement, and the promised brutality of the violence, this project is starting to remind me a lot of Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive. While I'd like to say that there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, I truly believe that Cianfrance is a great director and I'd hate to see his next film suffer in the shadows of a different-but-similar project. Given the creative minds at work, there's something in the back of my mind that's telling me I don't need to worry.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.