If the ‘80s and ‘90s were your bag, you probably love at least a couple of movies Ray Liotta starred in. GQ released a video today of the actor discussing his storied career playing a litany of fiery characters. Maybe you’re new to the American entertainment landscape and only know him as “Ray,” the guy from the Chantix commercials who used to smoke, but has since kicked the nasty habit. If so, you’ve missed so much!
Liotta’s 1989-1990 turned in a pair of personal favorites in Field of Dreams and Goodfellas. Much to my horror, he admits to having never seen the former! Personal reasons are his justification for avoiding the film (not the notion of a man plowing over his cornfield to build a baseball diamond, which he believed was silly when he read the script). I, on the other hand, make sure to watch the movie at the outset of every new baseball season. At least Liotta addresses the one thing that’s always irked me: the egregious swapping of the historic “Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s batting/throwing. Jackson batted lefty, threw righty; Ray the opposite. When Liotta brought up the problem to producers, he was given this apparently satisfactory response: “‘Shoeless’ Joe never came back from the dead. You can bat right-handed and throw left-handed.” There you have it.
As for Goodfellas, Liotta remembers listening to the real Henry Hill talk about his life whilst eating potato chips, which made Ray want to whack him.
He gets into a few others, including The Rat Pack, in which he portrayed Frank Sinatra, though reluctantly. “The only thing we have in common—we’re both from Jersey and we both say the F-word a lot,” Liotta says of that one. Much to my delight, he mentions his villainous turn in The Place Beyond the Pines, the underrated, contemplative drama-thriller.
Lastly, Liotta gets into the forthcoming Marriage Story, in which he plays a divorce lawyer. He calls Noah Baumbach’s script incredible, the tale a well-told and moving one.
You can check out Ray reminiscing below. Marriage Story will be available to stream this Friday, December 6, on Netflix.