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Ray Liotta reveals why he passed on role in ‘The Sopranos’

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The rumor mill has swirled for quite a while that Ray Liotta was offered the lead role of Tony in “The Sopranos” and he turned it down.

However, that was never the case. Liotta, 66, explained in an interview with the Guardian that he was approached by the HBO mob drama’s creator David Chase to play a different character.

“No! I don’t know where that story came from,” Liotta said about the idea he was offered the role of Tony Soprano. “David once talked to me about playing Ralphie. But never Tony.”

But the “Shades of Blue” star said even the part of Ralphie, which was ultimately played by Joe Pantoliano, was just not in the cards for him.

“I didn’t want to do another mafia thing, and I was shooting ‘Hannibal.’ It just didn’t feel right at the time,” he said.

Liotta famously starred as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 mafia crime film “Goodfellas.”

In 2001, Liotta also spoke about turning down a “Sopranos” role, the Associated Press reported, but said he’d like a guest spot.

“It was for a two-year commitment and I didn’t really want to give up that time now,” Liotta said on the “Today” show. “I would love to do a guest spot on there, do a couple of episodes. Having done ‘Goodfellas,’ it’s definitely a genre I’m familiar with.”

The New Jersey native also revealed to the Guardian why he never reunited with the Oscar-winning director.

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino and Joe Pesci in 1990's "Goodfellas."
Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino and Joe Pesci in 1990’s “Goodfellas.”
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“I don’t know, you’d have to ask him. But I’d love to,” Liotta remarked.

“If you got one movie that people remember, that’s great. If you got two, that’s fantastic,” he said.

But Liotta finally got his chance to star in a “Sopranos”-related project. He will next be seen in the series’ film prequel, “The Many Saints of Newark,” as the dad of Alessandro Nivola’s character Dickie Moltisanti.

“Many Saints” will feature original “Sopranos” legend James Gandolfini’s son Michael playing a young Tony in 1970s Newark, NJ. The film is out in theaters on Oct. 1 and streaming on HBO Max.

Liotta’s co-star Corey Stoll recently told Page Six that the “Field of Dreams” star had to audition for “Many Saints,” but Stoll did not have to send his audition tape to get his role of young Uncle Junior.

“I’m kind of embarrassed, even Ray Liotta had to,” Stoll, 45, said. “There are some advantages to being bald. I think that’s what it is.”



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