Ray Liotta Passed on a Role in The Sopranos Because He 'Didn't Want to Do Another Mafia Thing'

·2 min read
THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK
THE MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK

Warner bros. productions/ youtube

Ray Liotta is commenting on his choice not to be a part of HBO's hit mob series The Sopranos –– a franchise he will finally join in next month's Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark.

Liotta, 66, says Sopranos creator David Chase "once talked" to him about playing the smaller role of Ralph Cifaretto –– not, as rumor had it, the starring role of Tony Soprano.

"No! I don't know where that story came from," Liotta told The Guardian about the rumor he was in line to play Tony. "David once talked to me about playing Ralphie. But never Tony."

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As for why he turned the Ralphie role (which was ultimately played by Joe Pantoliano) down, the Goodfellas actor felt it was time to do something new in his career.

"I didn't want to do another mafia thing, and I was shooting Hannibal," he told the outlet, referencing the 2001 Silence of the Lambs sequel he starred in. "It just didn't feel right at the time."

Liotta, who had made a name for himself thanks to hits like Goodfellas in 1990 and Field of Dreams the year before, was trying to reposition himself after other mob-related entries like James Mangold's Cop Land in 1997.

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The Unlawful Entry star also said he "didn't know" why he never again got to work with Martin Scorsese, his director in Goodfellas, but would "love to" if the opportunity presented itself once more.

In spite of saying no to The Sopranos 20 years ago, Liotta is finally finding himself in that universe, thanks to a role in the upcoming Tony Soprano origin story The Many Saints of Newark.

In fact, the star aggressively pursued a role in the project this time around, even paying for his own flight to New York to talk with Chase about the role.

"I'm really not sure what made me so determined," he reflected. "But I was and luckily it all worked out."

Perhaps it's because The Many Saints of Newark is set in the New Jersey city during the 1960s, which is exactly where and when Liotta himself was raised.

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In the film, the actor will play Aldo 'Hollywood Dick' Moltisanti, father to central character Richard 'Dickie' Moltisanti played by Alessandro Nivola.

Critics are raving about the prequel film, which sees the formation of late actor James Gandolfini's vicious Tony Soprano during his teenage years with the actor's son, Michael, portraying a younger version of the character.

The Many Saints of Newark premieres October 1 in theaters and on HBO Max.

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