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Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci Talk Goodfellas

Ray Liotta

Goodfellas is Martin Scorsese's motion picture story of real life mobster Henry Hill, focusing on the joke fueled wiseguy's relationship with wife Karen Hill and Henry's mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito, all deeply involved with New Jersey's Italian-American crime syndicate.

Ray Liotta starred as Henry Hill while co-star Joe Pesci portrayed Tommy DeVito. Tone of the most famous - and most riveting - scene (among many, including the 'shine box' episode) may be this one between Liotta and Pesci:

Henry Hill : You're a pistol, you're really funny. You're really funny.
Tommy DeVito : What do you mean I'm funny?
Henry Hill : It's funny, you know. It's a good story, it's funny, you're a funny guy.
[laughs]
Tommy DeVito : What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What?
Henry Hill : It's just, you know. You're just funny, it's... funny, you know the way you tell the story and everything.
Tommy DeVito : [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What's funny about it?
Anthony Stabile : Tommy no, you got it all wrong.
Tommy DeVito : Oh, oh, Anthony. He's a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how?
Henry Hill : Jus...
Tommy DeVito : What?
Henry Hill : Just... ya know... you're funny.
Tommy DeVito : You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it's me, I'm a little fucked up maybe, but I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I'm here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Henry Hill : Just... you know, how you tell the story, what?
Tommy DeVito : No, no, I don't know, you said it. How do I know? You said I'm funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what's funny!
Henry Hill : [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy!
Tommy DeVito : [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.

In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live celebrating the 25th anniversary of Goodfellas in 2015, Ray Liotta described learning the wiseguy's ways and actual mobsters that approached Scorsese and company wanting to get into the movies.

"They gave me a guy," Liotta says. "That used to be a cop, who's family was in the mob, and he later went mob. I remember one day we go to lunch, right? We go, we get there, eating, and I wanted to pay - he's always telling me things and share things - my wallet is gone. We go back... now this is like in Queens, people all over the place walking up and down, and all of a sudden I walk - boom, there's my wallet. There's no question he took it from me. He took it from me and I guess he threw it on the street and said, 'There it is.'"

Kimmel asks, "Why do you think that happened, did he have a..."

"He's a douche," Loitta replies.

When asked about mobsters approaching him wanting to be in movies, "The night that I got the part, Lorraine [Bracco] and I found out, we went to Marty [Scorsese]'s apartment, then we went to a place called Rao's... We're having a nice dinner then, all of a sudden, towards the dessert, all these guys start coming up and basically they were auditioning but they did it by saying, 'I knew a guy who did this.' Then the other one tops him, "I knew a guy who did that.' And their stories got worse and worse and you know they were talking about themselves! 'No, I got some - you think that's a whacking!' It was that kind of thing."

 

Joe Pesci

BONUS: Letterman interviews a cigar smoking Joe Pesci in 1994, four years after Goodfellas was released:


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Goodfellas:
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers: Nicholas Pileggi (book), Nicholas Pileggi (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Stars: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci

Budget:$25,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend USA: $6,368,901, 23 September 1990
Gross USA: $46,836,214
Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $46,879,633

 

 

 


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