I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Before we hear about Liotta's life and movies, let's hear a scene from the . And you had mentioned the scene, which is a very famous scene - the laughing scene, in which you and a bunch of the . I got a phone call that he wanted to meet me at a bowling alley in the. See more ideas about Movies, Film posters and Goodfellas Goodfellas - Joe Pesci improvied that entire scene the things you learn. Goodfellas is the Rosetta Stone for the Trump Presidency (some spoilers ahead). As Bill Burr once said, every scene's a closer. Goodfellas is a story about false laughter, false camaraderie, false everything. . Dave Chappelle in New Equanimity Clip: Donald Trump Is "Fighting for Me" By Eric.
The film seems inexpensive but never cheap. But we forget just how dumb that idea is. During my twentieth time watching it, I was reminded of how weird and broken the characters are, and honestly how little they settle for. Their idea of money is a couple of free hundreds. Their idea of masculinity is bullying their friends. And their idea of power is—what, not getting bothered by the cops and scoring a seat at the Copa? A man whose idea of power is large crowds. A man whose loyalty goes one way.
A man who forgoes clever lying for easily disproven brags. A thin-skinned man who gives into performative public explosions instead of building power wisely. A profoundly dull, needy, unimaginative man, easily provoked and easily upset. Selling your soul is bad enough, but doing it for so little is doubly humiliating.
Just as Trump is deluded. Every claim Henry makes for The Life is disproven in the course of the film. And Henry, from the first to the last, takes the wrong lesson. Much as Trump does. They sacrifice so much just to believe in nothing. And nothing is what they get.
Not in this film, and not to Trump. The respect economy is make believe. Goodfellas is a story about false laughter, false camaraderie, false everything. These are predators pretending to be blood brothers. These are paranoid, insecure, desperate losers clawing at each other to stay afloat. Human feeling is alien to them, as it is to Trump.
Tony is unable to stop being selfish, or to tell himself the truth. I got a call from him after he saw the movie. Marty didn't want me to talk to him at all. He just wanted - we're just going to go by the script now 'cause he knew that maybe if I met him, he might embellish or - he didn't know what was going to happen.
They just wanted me to just go by the script and not to meet him. I got a phone call that he wanted to meet me at a bowling alley in the Valley with his brother.
And I said, oh, boy, what the heck is this going to be? And he was there. And I met him for the first time. He had just seen the movie. And basically, he says, yeah, I wanted to meet you. You know, thanks for making me not look like a scumbag, to quote him. And I'm thinking to myself, oh, my gosh, did you really watch the movie? You pretty much were a scumbag. You ratted on your friends You were doing all this blow. You were beating people up. But - and then I would see him for years.
He had a rough life towards the end of his life. And I would see him, a lot of times, in Venice. And he was just, you know, out of his mind on - you know, doing something - usually pretty loaded.
I would see him leaning against trees or just sleeping on the beach. And I would bump into him every once in a while. You're pretty well known now. And probably your most famous film is "Goodfellas. And that's kind of the joke in an episode of "Modern Family" that you just guest-starred on. And I want to play a clip from that. It's a really funny episode. And in this episode, the three kids from the family - they want to treat their uncle to a special gift for his birthday. And it's kind of last-minute.
So the three teenage Dunphy kids decide to buy a map to the stars' homes in Hollywood and take their uncle, who loves Barbra Streisand, to Barbra Streisand's house.
So they take him there. And the uncle's played by Jesse Tyler Ferguson. They take him there. And instead of seeing Barbra Streisand in front of the house, they see you in the front yard - you, as Ray Liotta. But only the uncle recognizes you. The kids have no idea who you are. So you're trying to tell the kids who you are by listing some of your biggest films. As Luke Dunphy Never seen it. As Haley Dunphy We're really not that old.
And we have taken up enough of his time, so As himself Stop saying my full name like you have to keep telling them who I am. As Mitchell Pritchett Well As himself You got the map. She lived here for about two months 15 years ago. As Mitchell Pritchett Oh. As himself You'd think the bastards would update these things to reflect the current movie star owners.
As Mitchell Pritchett Thank you. We're very sorry to have bothered you. As himself No, no, no, no.
I don't want you to leave empty-handed. Come on in for a selfie. As Mitchell Pritchett Oh, all right. As Mitchell Pritchett OK. As himself When you see my movies later, you're going to realize that this is a special moment. As Mitchell Pritchett Cheese. As himself See, that's an old actor's trick for a perfect smile. As far as what you were saying to begin with, in terms of kids knowing or not knowing, I do have kids that age coming up to me - mostly young boys.
From their fathers - the fathers passed along music and books or whatever that affected them when they were younger. You know, a lot of times you pass it on to your kid. So they'd pass on "Field Of Dreams" to their sons who played baseball. And some of the fathers that, you know, show their young sons - like, I've had year-old kids come up to me and say, oh, my gosh, you were so good in "Goodfellas. That's a little too young to see that one.
Ray Liotta speaking to Terry Gross in January. He plays a corrupt police detective in the NBC series "Shades of Blue," which is now shooting its second season. After a take short break, he'll talk about his college years when he was a jock performing in musicals and about getting started on the soap opera "Another World. When we left off, he told Terry that he's met year-old kids who told him, to his surprise, that they've seen the film.
I wonder if it's, like, a rite of passage, like an initiation thing into manhood, where fathers sit down their sons and go, son, you're old enough now to see "Goodfellas. All I can say is my career has been up and down. And I like it much better being up. And when it's up, part of that is people coming up to you and saying things. I remember when I first started - like, I'm an actor.
I don't want that sort of thing. All - I just wanted - it's all about the work. And that's just a bunch of B. You want people to watch what you're doing. There's a personal side to me of challenges as an actor that I like to take on myself. And I do certain things that, maybe, nobody else knows why I'm doing. But it's all - it all has to do with - to grow as an actor. I really believe that you never stop learning. And you never really ever get there.
Just like in life, the older you get - you don't arrive at - it's all right, I'm 60 now. It just keeps going. You're always - you're constantly learning things if you're the type of person who stays open and current. My dad, who - God bless him - just passed away at 98 - he was hip to everything because he read, 'cause he would watch TV. He wasn't - he wasn't closed down about anything.
And he passed that on to me - or the way to talk to people. You can have a conversation with anybody. He kind of passed that on to me. He didn't pass music onto me 'cause I couldn't stand - the ironic thing is I once played Frank Sinatra.
And I remember my parents listening to that. And I said, oh, my God, who is this guy? And then I end up playing him.
And now I can't - you know, now if he's on - you know, I listen to the Frank Sinatra station the majority of the time. Yeah, I listen to that a lot, too.
And I, too, didn't like that music when my parents listened to it all the time. Yeah, he was great. Joe Mantegna was Dean Martin. And you had to play Sinatra. I turned it down a bunch of times. I wouldn't do it. I was first asked to play him by Tina Sinatra or Nancy - one of the Sinatra - his daughters back when they did movie of the weeks. And they were doing a movie of the week of it.
And I turned it down because I just didn't want to do it at that time in my career. Then it came along. And it was during this down period of - for me. And they asked me - it was HBO. Rob Cohen directed it. And he called and asked if I would play it. And I said no - no thanks, I don't want to take on playing somebody that so many people knew - that I just felt the judgment would be too much.
And I was down in my career. So to take on something if it didn't work - maybe it would make things worse. And then I said, wait a second. The whole point of me doing this is to take on challenges, to keep growing as an actor and not really caring - one of the biggest downfalls for any actor is fear of judgment. And so if you start acting and you start thinking about and worrying about what other people are going to say about it, you'll never really fully commit to who it is and what it is that you're playing.
So what makes people think of you when they think of Sinatra? Maybe my - I got light eyes. I'm from New Jersey, and I curse a lot. Laughter I don't know. I don't know laughter. Did you sing before? I started out - laughter - I started out - I never, ever wanted to be an actor. It came time to go to college. My dad said, go wherever you want. Take whatever you want. He just really believed in getting out and being exposed to different things.
And maybe it would help you decide what to do with your life. I got into the University of Miami. And at that time, basically, all you needed was a pulse to get in there. I had no idea what it was that I wanted to do. So I just went - I was just going to take liberal arts. I got to the head of the line, and they said, because you don't know what it is, what you want to do, you're going to have to take math and history.
I said, oh, my gosh, there's no way. I don't even want to be in college. I'm not going to take any math and history. Right next to the line that I was in was for the drama department. I said, oh, my gosh. I'll be a drama major. Well, it's a typical actor's story. I'm in line now to be a drama major because I think that's the easiest way to get by this year.
And there was a really pretty girl. And she said, you auditioning for the play tonight? And she just berated me. Oh, my gosh, how could you not want to do the play? You got to do the play. It's all about doing plays. What kind of actor doesn't want to do a play? So I went, and I auditioned for the play. And it was for "Cabaret. I said, how am I going to sing and dance?
I'm a jock from New Jersey. What the fff ph. So she helped me out. I had seen "Pippin. I got up there, and all I could remember is the refrain, we've got magic to do. We got - I'm just doing the magic to do.
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And I don't know how old you are, but there used to be a group called Freddie and the Dreamers. I'm telling you now laughter There was a dance. There was a dance called the Freddie. So I started doing the Freddie as my dance You're supposed to be dancing as you're singing. So I just did the refrain, and I did the Freddie.
Ray Liotta On 'Goodfellas,' Acting And His Return To TV
And I got into it. And the first year, all I did were musicals. I was in the chorus for my whole freshman year. But there was an acting teacher there named Robert Buckets Lowery. And he was great. They called him Buckets because he used to play basketball.
Ray Liotta On 'Goodfellas,' Acting And His Return To TV : NPR
Me being a jock from New Jersey, like - 'cause when you first get into drama class and, you know, kids who - they're just different people in a lot of different ways.
And they - it wouldn't be the people that I would normally hang out with. And I didn't care what they thought 'cause here I am thinking, I'm just going to be here for one year. So for some reason, I just really committed and listened to what Bucket said. And thank God he was an acting teacher who was - it was kind of the Stanislavski, you know, the Russian director and acting teacher. I just listened to what he said and kind of understood and just learned.
And if it wasn't for Buckets, I probably would've left. But I came back the next year. And I ended up going the whole four years. But during those four years, I graduated to doing Riff in "West Side Story" and just different musicals. So to answer your question, yes, I had sang before. Well, I'm just going to savor the image of you doing the Freddie while singing laughter a song from "Pippin.
You know, I told that story The Freddie was just, like, the goofiest dance ever. See, now, I've said that before. And I've done that on talk shows. And you're the only person who I've ever talked to who remembers the Freddie. Yeah, it's kind of like you - say your arms are at your side.