‘Goodfellas’ Director Martin Scorsese Remembers Late Star Paul Sorvino in Touching Tribute

by Alex Falls

The entertainment world is still rocked by the news of the passing of Paul Sorvino. Tributes have poured in left and right remembering the actor and the body of work he left behind. Even old videos of the actor are going viral as everyone shares what they loved most about Sorvino.

Film auteur Martin Scorsese has now offered his own tribute to the fallen actor. The two worked together on Scorsese’s seminal gangster flick Goodfellas. Often regarded as one of the great films of all time, Sorvino starred opposite Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro as mob boss Pauly Cicero.

Scorsese released an official statement to describe his memories working with the late actor. The director looked up to Sorvino ever since seeing his performance in Warren Beatty’s classic film Reds. He said the actor’s level of mastery “could take your breath away.”

“He found a wonderfully expressive voice for his character, and quite a unique body language: urgent, fervent, and impassioned,” Scorsese said. “Watch it back to back with his performance as the televangelist in Oh God by Carl Reiner. At first glance, it seems like a broad comic turn, a send-up of Jimmy Swaggart and Jerry Falwell. But when you really pay attention, you see that Paul is inhabiting the character completely. It’s hilarious but it’s also sobering and disturbing.”

Scorsese and Paul Sorvino

Sorvino worked in many films and TV roles throughout his career. Most notably Law & Order and Romeo + Juliet from Elvis director Baz Luhrmann. But his role in Scorsese’s Goodfella’s helped put the actor on the Hollywood map. Scorsese said Sorvino was a consummate professional who helped him step up his game.

“I loved working with Paul on that picture,” Scorsese said. “It wasn’t always easy, but that’s never the point to begin with. Paul was tireless — he never settled for less than a deeper emotional truth. I learned a lot from him.”

Scorsese continued: “I remember one day, I was doing a few takes with him on a scene and it wasn’t quite there. On about the third or fourth take, he said to me, ‘Come away from the monitor and watch me.’ That’s what I did, and I could see it right away. It was a great lesson.”

Sorvino’s passing comes not long after the death of his fellow Goodfellas co-star Ray Liotta. Scorsese is still active in the world of film with his next project, Killers of the Flower Moon with Leonardo DiCaprio, set to debut next year. But Scorsese will always remember Sorvino for his generosity as an artist.

“I was really saddened to hear the news of his passing,” the filmmaker concluded, “in part because it was so close to losing Ray Liotta. But it was also the loss of a great, generous soul, and an irreplaceable artist.”