With his role as Henry Hill in the acclaimed film Goodfellas, Ray Liotta will forever be considered one of the legendary gangsters of the big screen.
Realizing that he could be cataloged as the gangster, Liotta once turned down a role in The Sopranos series before helping to kick off the golden age of television that continues.
And now, looking back in the rearview mirror, the actor couldn’t turn down the offer a second time, and has since scored the role in the new Sopranos prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark.
Confession: Ray Liotta, 66, admits he turned down a role on The Sopranos because he “didn’t want to do another Mafia thing” after Goodfellas; Liotta pictured in upcoming Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints Of Newark
While on the promotional runway for The Many Saints of Newark, the Newark native confessed to hearing rumors that he passed on the role of Anthony ‘Tony’ Soprano, the famous and brilliant role played by the late. James Gandolfini.
But Liotta, 66, was outspoken and admitted he was approached by series creator David Chase to play a different character.
‘No! I don’t know where this story came from, ”Liotta said in reference to the offer to play Tony Soprano.
‘David [Chase] told me about playing Ralphie before. But never Tony.
Put yourself in her shoes: Liotta stars alongside Michael Gandolfini (pictured), son of the late James Gandolfini, in the Sopranos’ prequel film The Many Saints Of Newark
Her reasoning: Liotta says she was offered to play Ralphie in The Sopranos; Liotta pictured with costars in The Many Saints Of Newark
At that time, in 1999, Liotta felt like he needed to branch out and play other characters that were on offer to him.
“I didn’t want to do another mafia thing, and I was shooting Hannibal,” the actor said. The Guardian, in a reference to the sequel to Silence of the Lambs he directed in 2001, adding: “It didn’t feel right at the time.”
Keep in mind that Liotta had also just appeared in the crime drama, Mafia-related movie Cop Land in 1997.
The character of Ralphie, which would have required a two-year engagement, would ultimately go to actor Joe Pantoliano.
Bada bing: The actor from Newark, New Jersey had already made a name for himself in the mafia genre in Goodfellas (1990) before offering the role of Ralphie; he is pictured alongside co-stars Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino and Joe Pesci
Tale of two roles: While rejecting the offer to play Ralphie in The Sopranos, Liotta lobbied series creator David Chase for a role in The Many Saints of Newark
While Liotta was offered the role of Ralphie over two decades ago, he decided to aggressively pursue a role in the previous film. even going so far as to spend his own money on a flight to meet Chase.
“I really don’t know what made me so determined. But I was and luckily everything went well, ”he explained.
In the film, the actor plays Aldo ‘Hollywood Dick’ Moltisanti, father of the central character Richard ‘Dickie’ Moltisanti, played by Alessandro Nivola.
Set in the 1960s, the film focuses on the Newark Riots of 1967, while examining the young Tony Soprano and his rise to power.
Chase co-wrote The Many Saints Of Newark with Lawrence Konner, and it was directed by Alan Taylor, who worked behind the camera on the TV show for nine episodes.
Back for more: Sopranos creator David Chase co-wrote The Many Saints of Newark
The cast also includes Michael Gandolfini, who plays a young Anthony ‘Tony’ Soprano, the real son of James Gandolfini.
Starring Liotta, Gandolfini and Nivola, the film also stars Vera Farmiga (Livia Soprano, Tony’s mother), Corey Stoll (Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano Jr.), Billy Magnussen (Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gualtieri), John Magaro ( Silvio Dante), Samson Moeakiola (Salvatore ‘Big Pussy’ Bonpensiero), Alexandra Intrator (Janice Soprano), Chase Vacnin (Jackie Aprile), Robert Vincent Montano (Artie Bucco), Michela De Rossi (Giuseppina Bruno), Gabriella Piazza (Joanne Moltisanti ), Leslie Odom Jr. (Harold McBrayer), Joey Diaz and Nick Vallelonga.
The Many Saints of Newark will air October 1 in theaters and on HBO Max.
Upcoming: The Many Saints of Newark premieres October 1 in theaters and on HBO Max