Ray Liotta '—
Off-screen, the star of Unforgettable is no Mr Nasty. Words: Alan Morrison
It’s always nice to meet a moVie star, but if you were taking a shortcut up that proverbial dark alley, maybe Ray Liotta wouldn't top the list for unexpected encounters. Too many memories linger from his turns as seductive screen psychos in Something Wild, Unlawful Entry and Turbulence, or his name-making performance as the coked-up mobster in Scorsese's Goodfe/Ias.
The Mr Nasty persona so dominates Liotta these days that it’s easy to forget the charm which shone through as a ghostly baseball player in Field Of Dreams, and a wrdower bringing up a young daughter in COIN/7d CONan He's also in good guy mode in his latest film, Unforgettable, playing a forensic scientist suspected of his wrfe's murder but keen to prove his
innocence by, ehm, tapping into his dead spouse's memories
through a transfer of cerebral spine fluids.
Given the tough roles he plays, it might be surprising to learn that Liotta has a strong consoence when it comes to portraying brutality on screen. 'The essential thing is to conVince people that Violence is a terrible thing,’ he insists. 'You go to a certain line on a screen showmg that, and you only have a problem working \‘.’Illl filmmakers who want to go over the line, who want to be too graphic. It's essential, when you are dealing with Violence, not to be sensational, espeCIally when it’s Violence towards women '
The 41-year-old actor had a more difficult route to stardom than many, growing up in working-class New Jersey as an adopted son ’True,’ he aclrnrts, 'that framed my life a lot I used to wonder, often week by week, what my biological
Memory man: Ray Liotta in Unforgettable
mother was domg and who I really was. Then I would put it
out of my mind because the whole thing could open a very
can I do about it7'
nasty nest of Vipers. It’s not good for you, it's non—
Now that he's at the top of the Hollywood ladder, Liotta rs ready to have fun — even when digging in life’s dark side. 'Hey, l have a good l0b,’ he says, With a twrnkle in those piercing blue eyes. ’I may go around beating people up, but nobody gets hurt. I try to make it as human and as humorous as possible There are so many sick people out there on the streets and you don't want to be compared with them If people seem to respond to me as a killer, what
Hollywood calling: Jon Favreau in Swingers
Jon Favreau Writer-star of Swingers
Some actors have fairie thrust upon them, some earn rt after years of work in daytime TV, but few manage to turn the harsher experiences of their daily lives into the very spark that ignites their career,
Actor and sorrretrrne writer Jon Favreau found life in LA a clepressrng
20 THE llST ll-24 Jul 199/
experience, as he unable to frinl an acting JOl) by day, or a (late by night Yet rnsteacl of sitting around growrng bitter and self-prtyrrrc_;, he poured hrs frustrations into a script he called Swrngers a wry, bittersweet tale of lrle in the Hollyi.‘.rc,')cl singles scene
'I never ririagrned all this when I wrote the scrrpt,’ he srnrles 'I was in Cannes when Trainspcnting hit the stage, and here was this Sc ottish film
Unforgettable opens on Fri 11 Jul. See review.
a big international, independent hit ~- ancl I was really impressed by it. But now here I am coming to the UK, reading about our film and it's presented in exactly the same way in iriagazrnes
'It's really kind of ironic that the fact I was an outsider who wasn't able to function in that whole club scene has made me sort of a cle fac‘to expert on that culture E.'er'y )ody guotes me and asks me (tirestrtilts s'xlrenever‘ they're writing an article about nightlife -~ and I was the guy who didn't know how to get a date '
Certainly work and dates are not in short supply now for the 29—year-old thanks to the irripressive response to Si'xingers' Basing the main cht‘ir‘acter’s on his similarly unemployed friends, Favreau was keen that they should play 'therrrselves', partly out of loyalty tO them and partly to keep that ring of truth about the whole painful biiSrriess
'l‘ar‘t of the reason I made myself look sci pathetic so that my friends wouldn't be insulted by the characters I y-ir'ote for them,’ he continues 'If you take the piss out of yourself, then it’s hard for them to get mad ! wanted them to get their day in court because to base a character on an out—of-work actor friend of yours, and then cast someone else in that role would rust add insult to injury' (Anwar Brett)
3! Swrngers opens on Fri I I Jul See
Abel Ferrara Director of The Addiction
Interviewing Abel Ferrara requires the same patience and forgiveness as watching his films. He takes his time, allowing the ideas to unfold in a lazy New York drawl rather than forcing the pace with pre-rehearsed speeches or clever sound-bites.
On the surface, his two most recent films, The Addiction and The Funeral, present themselves as straightforward genre pictures — the former a contemporary vampire movie, the latter a gangster picture set in the 19305. Yet beneath the generic conventions and sartorial trappings lurks a fascination with complex ethical and philosophical ideas.
'When I read the script for The Addiction, I didn't read a vampire movie, I read a movie that had vampires in it,’ says Ferrara. 'The Funeral is more of a fable. It’s baSically about the Italian side of my family that came to the United States in 1900. Why did they come here, what did they expect, and how did it change their lives? They were Neapolitan to the core; they made a pile of money but they never learned a word of English. That becomes these characters in The Funeral.’
The Addiction and The Funeral are the latest collaborations between Ferrara and screenwriter Nicholas St John; past works include King Of New York, Driller Killer and China Girl. Ferrara is the first to acknowledge St John’s crucial contribution to his work. For a while there were even rumo'ars that Ferrara and St John were the same person.
'I Wish I was Nicky, but I’m not,’ says Ferrara with a throaty laugh. 'We're Very close and yet we’re very far apart, we’re two very different people, Obvrously, he’s a believer and he's‘ writing from the pomt of View of being a Catholic and a Christian and no questions asked. I think it’s obvrous in The Addiction and in The Funeral that I’m not. He lives in the country, I live in the city. But we've grown up together Since we were fifteen years old. I Wish I was Nicky St John, you know.’
He pauses momentarily before adding, with a wry smile, ‘I don't know if he Wishes he was me.’ (Nigel Floyd) I The Addiction Glasgow Film Theatre and Edinburgh Film/rouse, Fri 7 7—-Thu 77 Jul The Funeral. Edinburgh Fi'linhouse, Fri il—Thu l 7 Jul, Glasgow Film Theatre, Tue 75 < Thu 77 Jul
King of New York: director Abel Ferrara