As far back as Ray Liotta can remember, he wanted to be in mobster movies. And he has: Though these days he’s known for those disarming Chantix ads, in which he waxes poetic on the pill that got him to finally forsake cigarettes, Liotta will forever be remembered as Henry Hill, the wise guy-turned-schnook in Martin Scorsese’s classic Goodfellas. Liotta has mostly avoided mob movies since then, but he’s in talks to return to the family via The Many Saints of Newark, aka the Sopranos prequel.
Deadline has the scoop, reporting that Liotta may be joining an already-stacked cast that includes Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Billy Magnussen, Corey Stoll, and Michael Gandolfini, who will take on the young Tony Soprano, previously played his late father James. The prequel, written by Sopranos creator David Chase and Lawrence Konner, is set during the Newark riots of the 1960s, when clashes between Italian and African Americans went next level after the mob got involved.
Should the Liotta deal go through, it will continue the Sopranos tradition of scooping up Goodfellas alumni, from Michael Imperioli to Frank Vincent to Tony Sirico to Lorraine Bracco, who went from Karen Hill, Liotta’s long-suffering wife in Goodfellas, to Dr. Melfi, Tony’s long-suffering shrink on The Sopranos. Now if only Newark could scoop up Paul Sorvino or Debi Mazar or Samuel L. Jackson, then we’d really be cooking.