Yahoo Movies spoke to Ray Liotta while he was promoting his new TV series ‘Shades Of Blue’. It’s a fantastic role for the Hollywood legend – a bisexual, corrupt lieutenant in the NYPD who is being investigated by the FBI. His colleague, played by Jennifer Lopez – the lead in the show – is reluctantly helping them. Liotta is proud of the series – which is currently showing on Sky – but was also happy to chat to us about his amazing CV, which includes ‘Field Of Dreams’, ‘Hannibal’ and of course, playing Henry Hill in ‘Goodfellas’. First up though he cleared up a rumour about his favourite football team…
Is it true you support Spurs?
Ray Liotta: That is not true. It’s not that I don’t support them; I just don’t know anything about them. I did a commercial that ran here in England and the person who was in charge lived in… is Tottenham a place? They lived there. He asked me if I would like to go to a game. I said sure because I played soccer but he also asked if I…I don’t know what happens at the beginning of the game. If you toss a coin or whatever it was they asked me to do and I said yeah. And then I went a watched the game. So it wasn’t a matter of that. But I’ve been asked that all the time by English people and from what I gather they weren’t a very good team. But they are better now though. They are good now right? Back then they weren’t good at all!
Is ‘Shades Of Blue’ the first TV series you’ve been in?
Yes. I really like it because it is not a procedural where basically you are doing the same thing over and over and in the end you know the good guys always figures out what happens. This is much more character driven. I really like where they are going because they are taking chances.
It used to be that if you couldn’t get ahead in movies you would go to TV. But now it has kind of reversed…
Oh totally. That is how it started. If you were doing a show you were at the end of your career or you just really couldn’t get there in movies. But now, because of the kinds of movies that are being made… they’re just not making a lot of compelling stories like they’re doing on cable TV now. The more serous kind of independent movies now really become cable shows.
It feels like even grown-up thrillers like Die Hard, for example, wouldn’t be big successes now…
Yeah but would they even make it? I don’t think so. I also think it is the way businesses are. They really have been eaten up and taken over by huge businesses like Universal and Comcast. I think every studio has been eaten up by these big businesses and their sensibilities are different than when Warner Brothers started. The priorities have changed. I think a lot of these people don’t give a f**k one way or another. They don’t give a s**t if it is s**t or if it is good or if it is not, it is a business.
Many veteran actors are looking to superhero films to further their career. Are you keen?
I probably would do one just to be the bad guy, you know. I tried to watch one last night. I couldn’t fall asleep and there was a bunch of movies on TV and I turned one on. And I am sitting there. And it was just horrible. And [this film] did well. I just can’t believe it. But a lot of it is my age. My sensibilities. What I grew up on. Actually there were two last night that I saw that were just not my cup of tea.
Did ‘Goodfellas’ help or hurt your career in the long run?
No it definitely helped. Right after I did ‘Goodfellas’ I played a heart surgeon in a movie. [My] mistake was that I didn’t follow [‘Goodfellas’] within the same genre. I always thought that you are an actor, you try and do different kinds of movies and different kind of roles. Some of them made money. Some of them didn’t. When you make a few that don’t make money you find yourself in a different land. You are trying to fight your way back. Doing this [TV show] is kind of fighting my way back. And it just so happens that I am having a blast doing this. I would love to keep doing it as long as the writing stays good. We are starting the second season in a couple of weeks.
I am not at the level for someone to give me X amounts of money to play roles. You just gotta keep fighting along. It is a never-ending battle. I remember a story about two actors. They were both fighting for a role. They both really wanted to do it. The one that got it was Michael Douglas. The one who didn’t get it was just as equally as big as him. It never stops this business. There are a few people, very few, maybe Leo [DiCaprio] and Meryl [Streep], who really have…well I don’t know what they can complain about. I would like to be in that position to see what they complain about. But they make great choices and really compelling movies and bravo to them.
Have you kept in contact with Joe Pesci? And why is he not in movies any more?
I know he is going to be… Marty [Scorsese] is doing another movie. I don’t know anything that it is about. What is it about?
It’s another mob story [I Heard You Paint Houses – based on the book by Charles Brandt]
Yes, definitely a mob story. Rob [DeNiro]’s in it. Joe’s in it. And [Al] Pacino’s in it. That I know. I just hope that there is something for me. It seems logical!
Mr. Pesci seems to refuse every project…
Maybe he is not offered them. I really don’t know. I saw him once. He used to have this thing at his house on Sundays when people came over for a big, big pot of pasta. And he was living in LA and any New York actor that he knew would go over to Joe’s. A lot of them were musicians. They would play their guitars and sing and have a great time. I went to one of them and that was the last I heard of him. I was flicking channels and there was a re-run of Howard Stern and Joe was on there and I am not sure what he was talking about. Why he was on there. I have no idea. I see Bob every now and again. The last I saw Bob was the 25th anniversary of ‘Goodfellas’. I haven’t seen Joe at all.
Does it annoy you to talk about ‘Goodfellas’?
Not at all. I act because I have my own reasons for liking and doing it. The places I wanna go. I want to get better and be more at ease. More relaxed. I have a constant thing that I am striving for. But also you make movies for people to see. So to be in a movie from 25 years ago that people still talk about, how many people can say that? Not many. Even from some of the better actors around. There are movies that you are not going to be talking about in 25 years. I get kids that are 13 years old talking about that they just saw ‘Goodfellas’ as if it just came out that weekend. They just discovered it and I guess it is something that their dad shared with them. ‘Field of Dreams’ is another one of those movies that still has legs, as they say. So no. My career has been up and down. I’ve had times where people are coming up and they are not saying a thing!
Watch Shades of Blue on NOW TV with the NOW TV Entertainment Month Pass for just £6.99