Member Exclusive – American Film Institute

Member Exclusive

GOODFELLAS, directed by Martin Scorsese, celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Ray Liotta, whose half-Italian and half Scottish-Irish heritage closely resembled Henry Hill’s, vied for the leading role. Robert De Niro, who considered himself too old for the role, had reminded Scorsese of Liotta’s performance in SOMETHING WILD when the filmmaker began his search for a leading man. Liotta first met with Scorsese about a year before he was officially cast. A month after their initial meeting, Liotta ran into Scorsese in Venice, Italy, where Scorsese’s THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST and Liotta’s DOMINICK AND EUGENE were playing at the Venice Film Festival. Liotta approached Scorsese, whose bodyguards held off the actor until Scorsese recognized him. Another chance encounter occurred when Liotta saw producer Irwin Winkler at the 72 Market Street restaurant in Santa Monica, CA. Winkler, who was not convinced Liotta was right for the role, changed his mind after speaking with the actor.

In this member exclusive video, Ray Liotta talks about working on the groundbreaking film.