A very serious, shocking loss for all cinema fans that of Ray Liotta, the splendid protagonist of Something overwhelming, The Man of Dreams and Goodfellas. While colleagues and fans mourn his passing, we will see him again in several projects, here are which ones.
What a wonderful actor he was Ray Liotta! Not only as a young man, when with that innocent child’s face with incredible blue eyes he was able to interpret characters as different from each other as the violent husband of Melanie Griffith in Something overwhelming (goes to Jonathan Demme the great merit of having launched it in the cinema, after the television roles in the soap Destinies and in Casablanca), Shoeless baseball champion Joe Jackson who appears in Kevin Costner neither The man of dreams and the criminal Henry Hill who to save his life betrays his mafia accomplices in Those good guys. But we also loved the adult Ray Liotta very much and not always in perfect physical shape, who gave us splendid evidence as a villain in films like Narc, The Iceman, No Sudden Move And The many saints of New Jersey (after he had turned down the role he went to Joe Pantoliano neither The Sopranos), among the many he has performed.
Left in an orphanage and adopted by an Italian-American family, the actor was often cast for Irish roles. It struck us to discover that he had met his biological mother and his other relatives in adulthood, thanks to the help of his first wife, as he had told for the first time in 2014 on the Larry King show. Contrary to how cinema often represented him, Ray Liotta was (or seemed, everyone says) a calm and sunny man who, the American media writes, was about to get married again to his fiancée Jacy Nittolowhich you see with him below in the photo taken from his Instagram profile, perhaps taken in Santo Domingo where Liotta unexpectedly left us in our sleep, at only 67 years oldon the set of the film Dangerous Watersdirected by John Barr. At the heart of the story is a boating vacation that takes an unexpected and dangerous turn when a teenage daughter uncovers her mother’s new partner’s criminal past. In the cast there are Saffron Burrows, Odeya Rush and Eric Dane. We know that filming had started a month ago but not where it was. This the manufacturer’s declaration on the actor’s disappearance: “We are deeply saddened by Ray’s disappearance, it’s a terrible loss and our deepest condolences go out to his family, girlfriend Jacy and daughter Karsen.”
Ray Liotta: where we will see him again in the cinema and on TV: Cocaine Bear and Black Bird
Before his unexpected and tragic death, the actor, very busy in this last period of his life, had participated in other productions. According to reports from Variety, which has had confirmation from sources close to the production, Ray Liotta had completed a film and a TV series. It is about Cocaine Bear directed by Elizabeth Banksfrom Universal, and the miniseries for Apple TV Plus Black Bird. In the latter, which will arrive on the canal on July 8, Liotta is a police officer whose son (Taron Egerton) is sentenced to 10 years in prison for drug dealing. In prison, he is offered the chance to get out on probation early if he agrees to move to a criminal asylum to befriend serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser). The showrunner of the series is the writer Dennis Lehane who wrote, as he stated, the character of Big Jim Keane just for Liotta and released this beautiful statement about it:
For me it was, literally, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to work with Ray Liotta. Ever since I saw him break through the screen, lighting up his co-stars and cinema in Something Overwhelming, I’ve found him the most eclectic American actor of his generation. Underlying Ray Liotta’s performance was a dualism that he couldn’t quite control and which I suspect wasn’t wanted. Instead it felt like something etched in his DNA. When his character was menacing and dangerous, he couldn’t completely hide the sweet boy inside him. When he was charming and loving, you could feel something unstable beneath the surface. I had no other actor in mind and I was stunned – honored and excited to the fullest – when he jumped into the part, less than 24 hours after receiving the scripts. What about the performance he gave us? A true masterclass. He has fully impersonated a man who realizes that his life of shortcuts and living on the edge of corruption has placed the weight of a series of very dark options on his son’s shoulders. But although the character is deeply flawed and compromised, Ray has found nobility in a man who would throw himself into the fire for that same son without batting an eye. It was about that duality that I counted on to sustain the show’s emotional heart from start to finish.
There are, besides these, two other projects in which Ray Liotta was involved: the comedy of Charlie Day, El Tontoand Universal’s drama The Substancewith Margaret Qualley And Demi Moorewhose fate is unknown at the moment.
Ray Liotta: the words of Elizabeth Banks and Lorraine Bracco
The role that Ray Liotta starred in Cocaine Bearwhose shooting ended in Ireland last October and whose US release date is set for February 24, 2023. Based on the true story of the murderous rampage of a bear who had ingested an incredible amount of cocaine, Cocaine Bear – with Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale And O’Shea Jackson Jr. – is currently in post-production and the director Elizabeth Bankswho had met Liotta in 2011 on the set of the comedy The Details – expressed the following words of heartfelt gratitude to him on social media:
I had a special bond with Ray Liotta. We met on the set of a small movie, The Details, and it struck me a lot. I’ve always admired his acting but I really liked him as a human being. He was a charming man. We have collaborated in Cocaine Bear for the past few months. I saw him, hugged him, heard about his summer travel plans. When an actor of Ray’s caliber gives you confidence as a director, it’s a gift. But Ray has given me so much more. I’ve been told in Hollywood in the past that men wouldn’t listen to me, that that’s why I couldn’t direct action. Ray’s respect for me as a director, actress and artist, as his boss on set, meant everything to me because if you can direct Henry Hill, you can do whatever fucking thing in this town.
– Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) May 26, 2022
Ray Liotta, Jennifer Lopez fondly remembers the actor, her ‘partner in crime’ in Shades of Blue
While the condolences and admiration of friends, colleagues, directors and fans continue to come towards Ray Liottaone of the first to comment on him was Lorraine Braccowho was alongside him in the role of his wife in Those good guys, in the Tweet you see below. To her we leave the last word in memory of this great actor:
I am completely devastated to hear this terrible news about my Ray. Wherever I am in the world, people come to me and tell me that their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask me what was the best thing about making that movie. And my answer has always been the same … Ray Liotta.
I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray.
I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same… Ray Liotta. pic.twitter.com/3gNjJFTAne
– Lorraine Bracco (@Lorraine_Bracco) May 26, 2022