Ray Liotta May Play a Tough Guy On-Screen, But He Says He’s Never Been in a Fight

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

When you think about actor Ray Liotta, the picture that most likely comes to mind is that of a tough guy who is unwilling to back down from pretty much anything. This persona has been put on the actor thanks to his roles in such mob films as “Goodfellas” and others.

However, according to an interview the 66-year-old actor recently gave to The New York Post, he’s not like the characters he’s made a career out of playing. In fact, Liotta said he’s never done something his tough guy characters often do.

“I don’t go around beating people up. I’ve never been in a fight. I avoid it at all costs,” Ray Liotta also said.

In one of his most recent roles, Ray Liotta plays another wise guy. This time, he joined “The Sopranos” universe. The actor is playing Aldo “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti in the new film, “The Many Saints of Newark.”

“The Sopranos” was created by David Chase. And, unsurprisingly, the series was inspired by “Goodfellas.” Chase is both a producer and a writer for “The Many Saints of Newark.” Also, unsurprisingly, Ray Liotta has a lot of respect for Chase.

“David Chase is a special, intense talent,” Liotta said.

Ray Liotta Said He Pursued His Role in ‘The Many Saints of Newark’

David Chase actually wanted Ray Liotta to play a character in “The Sopranos.” The role was that of Ralphie Cifaretto. However, Liotta decided not to take the job. Instead, Joe Pantoliano played Ralphie.

When it came to “The Many Saints of Newark,” Liotta wasn’t about to miss out on the chance to work with Chase. Liotta was very active in going after the role. His efforts definitely paid off.

“I flew myself out, and had lunch with David and Alan (Taylor, the director), and by the end of it they asked if I would play Hollywood Dick,” Ray Liotta said.

“Hollywood Dick” is the grandfather of Christopher Moltisanti – who was one of Tony Soprano’s right-hand men in the iconic HBO drama. Playing Christopher in that show was actor Michael Imperioli.

The new film, which debuted on Friday, Oct. 1, follows Tony Soprano’s early years. It gives fans a look at how he became the infamous mob boss he was in the original series. Playing Tony in the series was the late James Gandolfini. Interestingly, it is Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini, who is playing Tony in the new film.

Ray Liotta decided that watching “The Sopranos” wasn’t something he needed to do in order to bring the character of Hollywood Dick to life.

“(The series) didn’t inform my decisions whatsoever of what to do. It was all in the script. Because I didn’t watch the series, I didn’t feel like I really missed a lot of the stuff because I didn’t know what they were talking about. This movie stands alone,” Liotta shared.

Liotta is also very happy about the way his life is going these days. “I still feel extremely young, even if I am in my 60s,” he said.