Martin Scorsese and Ray Liotta made film history with their landmark crime drama 'Goodfellas' in 1990, but fans always wished for the pair to reunite.
Following the actors passing in May, tributes have been paid to Liotta who played Henry Hill in Scorsese's Oscar-winning drama, and the legendary director penned an essay for The Guardian discussing his memories of Liotta and why the pair never reunited.
"We had many plans to work together again but the timing was always off, or the project wasn’t quite right. I regret that now," Scorsese wrote.
"I wish I’d had the chance to see him just once more, too — to tell him just how much the work we did together meant to me" Scorsese wrote.
"But maybe he knew that. I hope so."
Scorsese praised Liotta for his recent performances, and stated he had every indication of working with him again.
"When I watched Ray as the divorce lawyer in ‘Marriage Story’ — he’s genuinely scary in the role, which is precisely why he’s so funny — I remember feeling that I wanted to work with him again at this point in his life, to explore the gravity in his presence, so different from the young, sprightly actor he was when I met him."
Liotta had seen something of a career resurgence in recent years, appearing in last year's 'Sopranos' prequel film 'The Many Saints Of Newark', as well as his turn in 'Marriage Story', and fans had hoped the director-actor duo would reunite more than 30 years after 'Goodfellas'.
'The Wolf Of Wall Street' director recalls casting Liotta in 'Goodfellas' off the back of the actor's unforgettable turn in Jonathan Demme's comedy thriller 'Something Wild'.
Scorsese cited the scene in 'Something Wild' where Liotta's character first appears as a sign of his star potential, which lead to him being cast in 'Goodfellas'.
"I was stunned by his performance in my friend Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild. Halfway through the picture, he walked in and more or less took it over. You couldn’t take your eyes off of him."
"But Ray’s role in Something Wild was finite, and I wondered if he could carry a whole picture," the director said.
Scorsese recalls running into the actor at the Venice Film Festival when he was promoting his film 'The Last Temptation of Christ', and an encounter with the actor led to him casting him as Henry Hill.
"I was crossing the lobby of the Excelsior hotel on my way to an interview. Ray and I saw each other from across the lobby, and he headed toward me to say hello and check in with me. He came near and then he hit a wall of security. Instead of throwing a fit and demanding that he be allowed through, he reacted quietly and calmly, observed the rules and patiently defused the situation."
Scorsese recalled "He looked at me, I looked at him, and we signalled that we would talk, and he walked away. I watched it all very closely, and I saw him handle the situation with quiet authority and a real elegance. Actually, that was just what the role needed. When I look back on it, I believe that was the moment when I knew I wanted Ray to play Henry Hill."
The rest, as they say, is history, and Liotta's performance as Henry Hill is widely regarded as one of the greatest film performances of all time, and 'Goodfellas' is often agreed upon as being the best film of the Scorsese filmography.
Liotta has left behind 2 finished films, including Elizabeth Banks comedy 'Cocaine Bear' which filmed in Ireland last summer, as well as a role in Charlie Day's as yet untitled directorial debut.