Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese says Ray Liotta almost wasn't cast

martin scorsese
Goodfellas' Scorsese on who almost wasn't castJason Mendez - Getty Images

Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese has revealed that Ray Liotta almost wasn't cast as Henry Hill in the mob drama.

"We were thinking about just a few actors to play Henry Hill, and Ray was one of them," Scorsese revealed in an interview with Variety. "I had one concern. I knew that he could handle a role like the one he had in Something Wild, but here he would have to carry the whole picture.

"He had to look like he could have come out of that world, he had to have a certain innocence, he had to have authority, but most of all he needed charm as a counterweight to the violence and the horrifying behaviour.

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Michael Buckner - Getty Images

Related: Goodfellas actor given posthumous star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

"I loved Ray's work, we got along very well whenever we met and I knew we could work together. But still… I wondered. And then, something clicked into place."

The "something that clicked into place" happened when Scorsese, who was in Venice for The Last Temptation of Christ, ran into Liotta at a hotel.

According to the director, he had hired additional security after filming the controversial The Last Temptation of Christ. When Liotta was confronted by security, Scorsese said he "handled it perfectly," reacting "very quietly, very calmly," and "politely" to defuse the situation.

robert de niro, ray liotta, joe pesci, goodfellas 1990
Warner Bros.

Related: Ray Liotta receives tribute from Goodfellas co-star and more after death

Following this encounter, Scorsese knew Liotta was right for the part saying: "I took a little more time to think about it, but I realise now that I was just going through the motions," Scorsese revealed. "That was when I knew he would be Henry Hill."

Yesterday (February 25), Liotta was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Speaking of the actor, who died last May aged 67, Scorsese said: "It was his fearlessness, combined with his control and his intelligence, that made him so great."

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