The Many Roles of Ray Liotta

by Audrey Pavia and Randy Mastronicola

Decades ago, Ray Liotta established himself as a legend within the mob movie genre with his iconic portrayal of Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Fast forward to 2021, and Liotta has reestablished himself in the mobster genre, this time in David Chase’s The Many Saints of Newark.
Production began on the much-anticipated prequel to The Sopranos back in 2019, and the film was originally scheduled for release by Warner Brothers in the fall of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic interfered with that plan, forcing fans of The Sopranos to wait an entire year to find out David Chase’s vision of the Sopranos’ story before Tony took charge.

Although The Many Saints of Newark is subtitled “A Sopranos Story,” the movie will go down in film history as a great gangster flick independent of the landmark television series. Many Saints has everything you’d expect to find in a mob movie, along with incredible performances and an amazing script layered with the kind of depth you expect from David Chase.

Liotta stars alongside Alessandro Nivola, who plays Dickie Moltisanti, father of Christopher Moltisanti from the TV series; Michael Gandolfini, real-life son of James Gandolfini, who plays a young Tony Soprano; Vera Farmiga who plays Livia Soprano; and Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano. Fans of the TV series will not be disappointed by this casting, finding it takes no effort to accept that any of the characters in Many Saints are just younger versions of the players we knew from the series.

The characters in Many Saints are depicted navigating the tumultuous times where the mob world meets societal upheaval. The 1967 Newark riots are the backdrop and catalyst for much of the action. Many Saints resonates because it uses an organized crime story as a launching pad to illuminate viewers about violence, race and familial tragedy.

We sat down with Ray Liotta to talk about his role in The Many Saints of Newark, which is scheduled to be released on October 1st of this year.

There’s been a lot of buzz about The Many Saints of Newark, some mystery about your role. Are you excited that Sopranos fans will finally get to see what you’ve done in this film?

Well, number one, I think they’re going to enjoy the movie. You don’t have to have seen The Sopranos, the series, in order to enjoy the movie. It stands on its own. For those who have watched it, you’ll see how things got started; specifically how Tony grew up as a young kid and then became what he became.

It’s a very intense movie as most mafia movies are. A lot of people are obsessed with The Godfather, Goodfellas and many other movies in the genre. Why do you think people connect to these types of stories?

It’s mindboggling. It’s the same reason why I love watching Dateline or 2020 or 48 Hours. All those shows are usually about people who do bad things to other people. I just think it’s so different than what they know, people get intrigued with it. It’s like watching a car crash. You don’t want to look, but you want to look. It’s just a safe way to look at some things. You know, that people do really bad things to other people.

Just to finish with Many Saints, what do you think a viewer will take away from the movie?

First and foremost, you want people to feel they got their money’s worth from watching the movie. It shows people going on the wrong side of the tracks and what can happen. As a parent, there’s lot of father-son stuff. You always have to be aware that your kid can do whatever. You want to try to keep them on the straight and narrow.

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By |2021-09-08T11:57:02-08:00September 7th, 2021|Celebrity Interviews|0 Comments
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