Martin Scorsese is reflecting on his time with “Goodfellas” actor and old friend Ray Liotta, who died late last month at the age of 67 in the Dominican Republic.
The Oscar-winning director, 79, wrote an op-ed for the Guardian to pay tribute to Liotta and stated his regret over not working with him enough during his lifetime.
“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,” Scorsese penned.
The filmmaker directed the “Shades of Blue” star in the 1990 mob drama “Goodfellas.”
Scorsese continued, “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,” “The Departed” director went on.
“I wish I’d had the chance to see him just once more, too — to tell him just how much the work we did together meant to me. But maybe he knew that. I hope so,” he added.
Scorsese also described how “fearless” Liotta was on the set of “Goodfellas,” namely when the actor got word shortly before shooting a scene that his mother was dying. While Scorsese demanded Liotta leave filming to be with his ailing mom, the New Jersey native refused and opted to shoot instead.
“The word ‘fearless’ is used quite often to describe actors, and with good reason: Actors need to be fearless,” Scorsese explained. “They have to jump in and just go, and they have to stumble and fail and risk appearing ridiculous as they’re finding their way into a role. That’s just part of the work.”
“On ‘Goodfellas,’ we were working improvisationally in most scenes, and many members of the team had known each other and worked together for years, including my mother and my father. Into that walked the new guy, Ray Liotta, and he never missed a beat. It felt like we’d worked together for years,” he wrote.
The “Boardwalk Empire” producer shared a touching statement on May 26 following the “Field of Dreams” alum’s death: “I’m absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta. He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor.”
“He absolutely amazed me, and I’ll always be proud of the work we did together on that picture [‘Goodfellas’]. My heart goes out to his loved ones, and it aches for his loss, way too early,” Scorsese said.