Maxim Icon: Ray Liotta

You know why we’re naming the Goodfellas star – who appears in this month’s Kill the Messenger and The Identical – a Maxim icon? It’s outta respect.

You’ve got two films coming out this month, and as we speak, you’re shooting a western miniseries in Mexico. Do you even know how many movies you’ve made?

Someone told me—I think one of my daughter’s friends—that there’s 70 or 80? I have no idea.

Kill the Messenger is based on the true story of a journalist who tried to expose the government’s role in selling drugs in inner cities to raise funds to arm the Contras in Nicaragua. Did you know much about the scandal going in?

Obviously, I’d heard about the Contra stuff, but no. It’s mind-boggling when you think of what they did—it almost seems like fiction. With GoodFellas, people really lived like that.

Speaking of GoodFellas, did you get to see real-life gangster Henry Hill, whom you played in the movie, before he passed away a couple of years ago?

I did. I go to a Gold’s Gym in Venice where I would see him every now and then. He’d usually be [outside] lying against a tree, looped out of his mind.

Did he like your portrayal of him?

He did. He said, “Thanks for not making me look like a scumbag.” That was exactly what he said. I’m thinking to myself, Oh my God, did you see the movie? Ratting people out, drugs, cheating on his wife…Somehow he saw it and didn’t think of it the way you and I would.

GoodFellas is on TV all the time. Do you ever watch it?

I’ve seen it only once or twice. I was at the Aruba International Film Festival a couple of years ago, and they were doing a screening of GoodFellas, so they asked me to introduce it. I was there with my daughter, who was 14, and I said, “Yeah, sure.” I introduced it, and that was it. I started walking out, but my daughter wouldn’t move. So we sat and we watched it. She loved it. She was flipped out by it. It’s so overwhelming, especially when you see it on the big screen and to know that it’s true.

Field of Dreams turned 25 this year. Do people come up to you all the time and say, “If you build it, he will come”?

You know, that’s a movie I’ve actually never seen. But yes, that, and I hear, “You’re a funny guy!” I like hearing that stuff; it means they’re watching the movies. I don’t get bothered if people come up and recognize me. That’s just part of what it is—because when things are cold and nobody is coming up, you think, Is it over? Is my run done? There was a period of time when I was in that place. You’re hot for a while, then things cool down, and hopefully you find something to bring you back again.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about women over the years?

They’re always right. Things will just be easier that way.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

I was doing press for Killing Them Softly a couple of years ago, and they asked me a question about Brad Pitt. I jokingly said, “Oh, Brad, he’s a hack.” And thosemotherfuckers took it really serious, and the next thing you know, it spread like wildfire. I want to let everybody know that I was just fooling around. I really like Brad! 

Photos by Hellovon