Exclusive Interview With Ray Liotta On Killing Them Softly

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Speaking of awards and the upcoming Oscar season, Killing Them Softly has been hearing some grumblings surrounding awards talk. Ray doesn’t always agree with such rumors though, stating “What movie that comes out now doesn’t have it?” Any movie that comes out in this dedicated fall awards season timeframe usually does get some sort of recognition that way, even before audiences respond. Liotta then chucked and said “Some of the movies that they’re talking about, I’ve seen them, and I say ‘What, are you fucking kidding me? Really?’ It’s so much hype. I think half the people who vote for these things don’t watch half the movies anyhow. I think they just get caught up in what you guys are writing.”

Obviously not being completely serious, but just throwing a satirical comment out for our judges to think about. People have been saying a little while now the voting system is flawed, but it’s going to take a long time before traditional methods are re-thought. Offering some positivity on the matter, Liotta added “The good thing about awards is they bring attention to the movies. People hear ‘well this is an award type movie,’ so hopefully it brings people in to go and see it, but that’s not a guarantee.”

In Killing Them Softly, Brad Pitt plays killer for hire Jackie, the film’s main protagonist, or antagonist, however you view his character. Liotta had nothing but praise for Pitt and his role, saying “I think he’s smart. The good thing about him is, and I don’t mean this negatively, he’s a big movie star, but name a big movie he’s been in? Aside from the movies with the other guys, the Oceans thing, the movies that he picks are really interesting.” A great observation, as Pitt always does seem to pick these extremely interesting and captivating roles over simpler characters tailored for big screen popcorn popping style entertainment.

“I don’t think Moneyball was, no pun intended, a homerun. It was an interesting character. This is an interesting character. He doesn’t hide behind a cape.” This isn’t a dig to actors playing superheros now, as there have been some phenomenal roles like Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Hemsworth as Thor, but there’s always something jaded and special about the depths Pitt’s characters always have. Liotta is simply praising a phenomenal actor of our time. “Just the fact that he knows he’s a hitman like Gandolfini. He wasn’t playing at being a hit man, he just was. He didn’t strain or force anything.”

But as Pitt the person, Liotta still had plenty of good to say. “He’s a casual guy, he’s like a regular person…He’s just like guys I grew up with.”

So what’s next for Ray Liotta? Well, directing won’t be in his near future it seems. “I don’t have a real strong desire to do it…I probably would, but if I never do, I’m not going to feel incomplete.” Don’t put your money on TV shows as well, as Liotta doesn’t want to get stuck in the repetition of a procedural copy-cat. “I know some people who were on procedurals, and as much as they were making a lot of money doing it, they hated it, because it was the same…Like those CSI shows. Good shows, but I know some people who were on it that it was brutal for them.” The only chance we’ll have on a Liotta television character would be a cable TV show with bolder ambitions. Concerning shows like Mad Men and The Walking Dead, “I wouldn’t mind doing a cable show. There are some really good shows, and the commitment is not the same.”

So what will Ray definitely be seen in next? You can catch him in the upcoming thriller The Iceman, a true story based on hitman Richard Kuklinski directed by Avi Vromen, and also in Derek Cianfrance’s upcoming crime drama The Place Beyond The Pines. Both films are attracting a certain amount of attention even now, so their releases will be well publicized.

Aside from those two wider releases though, Liotta just completed a lesser buzzed independent film about a month ago called The Identical, which he took a certain liking too. “I just played a preacher…and it was a beautiful, beautiful story.” This must be where the whole heartfelt kick is coming in. “Aside from me preaching, it’s also about the relationship with my son who I adopt.” Ray Liotta the family man! “It’s a pair of twins during the depression, a family has them, they have no money, the guy knows I’m having trouble with my wife having kids, so he gives us one of their babies, and I had a special connection with that.” The Identical won’t be out until next year for certain, but when it does come out, this will definitely be a little character piece worth checking out. It was really extraordinary to see an actor so passionate about a film, and I was certainly sold.

As always, I’d like to thank Ray Liotta for taking the time for this discussion, and be sure to check out Killing Them Softly, in theaters today! 

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