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The classic tracking shot in Goodfellas that follows Henry and Karen through the back of the nightclub to the inside was ruined on the first take when another actor flubbed their line at the last possible moment, Ray Liotta revealed.
The actor was a guest Friday on The Rich Eisen Show where he talked about his upcoming film The Many Saints of Newark and his Mafia classic, Goodfellas.
In Many Saints, the prequel film to The Sopranos TV series, Liotta plays Aldo “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti, the grandfather of Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) from the HBO drama.
“It is raw as a Mafia movie could be,” Liotta said of the David Chase project, adding that viewers did not need to watch The Sopranos to understand and enjoy the picture.
Although tight-lipped about Many Saints, Liotta was happy to share some fun anecdotes about making Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning Goodfellas.
Among the tales, Liotta said the massive, iconic tracking shot was ruined on the first take at the very end.
“There’s like 100 extras, we’re going through the kitchen, we’ve got a guy picking up the table and all of a sudden, we’re in the center of this thing,” Liotta said. “She says, ‘What do you do?’ and I say, ‘I’m in construction.’ And then it goes up to Henny Youngman. And after all that, he forgot his lines. He forgot his own jokes. So we had to do it again because the whole thing was one shot.”
Liotta also noted that he and Joe Pesci improvised the classic “How am I funny?” moment after Pesci told a story to Liotta and Scorsese about an actual situation he was in when someone took what he was saying wrong and got angry.
The Many Saints of Newark arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on Oct. 1.
Listen to the full the interview below.
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