While he plays the dual roles of twin brothers Sal “Sally” Moltisanti and Aldo “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti in David Chase’s long-awaited Sopranos prequel movie, The Many Saints Of Newark, nobody here is calling Ray Liotta a Hollywood dick. Just making that clear. After all, this is Ray Liotta we’re talking about. Still, the acclaimed actor did tell Seth Meyers on Tuesday’s Late Night that he did take some revenge on his Newark co-star Alessandro Nivola when the Black Narcissus actor accidentally made the no-doubt terrifying mistake of actually socking Ray Liotta in the jaw during a fight scene.
“He got a little sloppy,” said Liotta of his fellow actor’s wayward punch, telling Meyers, in head-nodding Ray Liotta tough guy bonhomie, “I understand exactly where he was coming from. This is, like, a nice shot for him, and he wants to make it as real as possible.”
And while Nivola was suitably contrite in checking up on Liotta after the incident, Liotta ultimately took his vengeance merely by pretending that Nivola had busted Liotta’s jaw, a prospect that, one can only imagine, sent the younger actor to a very scary, “Oh shit, I just punched Ray Liotta” place in his mind. Still, all is forgiven, with Liotta telling Meyers he just wanted to make Nivola “sweat a little.” Ha ha ha... good one, Mr. Liotta.
As for his roles in The Many Saints Of Newark, Liotta told Meyers that, unlike most Ray Liotta films or TV shows, he’s actually seen it all the way through. “I usually don’t watch,” said Liotta of his own work—which, by the way, you’re missing out on some good stuff, Ray. But, he explained of the highly anticipated continuation of The Sopranos story, “This I really wanted to see.”
And speaking of things Ray Liotta wants to see, the actor told a surprised Meyers that he’s never actually seen The Sopranos. Okay, he’s seen an episode here and there, but, as he explained, “At that time, I just wasn’t really into sitting home and watching television,” which, fair enough. He’s Ray Liotta. “I will, eventually,” promised Liotta, possibly in deference to Sopranos creator Chase, somebody even Liotta seems to be a little wary of disappointing.
Saying of Chase’s on-set demeanor, “He’s very intense and knows what he wants, knows what he likes, and he’s not afraid to say it,” Liotta comically shushed Meyers’ shocked gasp at the actor’s lack of Sopranos knowledge. Especially since, as Meyers noted, he’s one of the very few Goodfellas actors who never went on to appear on the HBO series, and that Chase himself once took a train to the set of Hannibal to pitch a role for Liotta in person.
“Eh, I’ll let you know,” is how Liotta recalled his reaction to Chase’s proffered role, which is about the most Ray Liotta-esque response imaginable. Reminded by Meyers that the role of Ralph Cifaretto eventually went to Joe “Joey Pants” Pantoliano, who won an Emmy for playing arguably the biggest creep in the show’s history, Liotta shrugged, laughing, “I made the right move for him, and the right move for me.” Honestly, casting Liotta might have made that brutal final fight scene with James Gandolfini’s Tony more of a contest. (No offense to Mr. Pants.)