Ray Liotta was a ‘funny guy,’ according to Charlie Day. Now, he probably wouldn’t want to say that to Liotta’s Goodfellas co-star Joe Pesci, but having worked with the late actor on his soon-to-be-released film, Day is comfortable telling the rest of us.
Fool’s Paradise, which Day wrote, directed, and starred in, is set to be released next month. A project that he has worked on for almost a decade, the comedy centers around an actor who’s “thrown into the Hollywood machine.”
This is Day’s directorial debut, although he said he felt comfortable since he has 13 years of experience on his most famous production, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Although he did admit that unlike on the television series when he works with co-stars Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton, he was left to overcome roadblocks on his own.
Fool’s Paradise has a star-studded cast that includes Ken Jeong, Edie Falco, John Malkovich, Jason Sudeikis, and of course, Ray Liotta. The film was Liotta’s final role before his death in May 2022.
Charlie Day’s ‘biggest regret’
Liotta’s part in the film is also the root of some sadness for Day. During an interview with Willie Geist for Sunday Today he said, “my biggest regret is that Ray is not going to get to see the audience see him.”
Day added, “Ray would text me every three months like, ‘Hey, man, what’s going on with that movie we did? When is it getting out?’ And I would say, ‘Ray, I’m so sorry. I’m stuck back doing It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I have to deliver this season and as soon as I wrap, I’m going to get back into the editing room, so everything’s on hold.”
Liotta did get to see the film before his death. Day also confirmed that Liotta had been involved in post-production, offering to help with edits including dialogue and re-shoots.
Do I amuse you?
Liotta, known for his serious roles, including mobster Henry Hill in the Martin Scorsese film, Goodfellas, has stepped into the world of comedy on occasion. According to Day, Liotta was very funny “without being over the top.” During filming, Liotta “would pitch [Day] jokes that he wanted to try, and [Day] would always let him try it.” He noted that about half of the jokes proposed by Liotta were kept in the movie.
Beyond his comedic abilities, Day expressed admiration for Liotta by saying that “he was just a really driven, committed, serious-about-his-craft guy, and I feel lucky he’s in the movie.”
Day further praised Liotta in the new film: “He delivers a performance that is, in my mind, I won’t say it’s Goodfellas good, but it’s Ray Liotta good. It’s up to his standards of what he can do well.”
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The series is now the longest-running sitcom in American television history, surpassing The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which ran for 14 seasons. The first season of It’s Always Sunny premiered in 2005 on FX, and it has run for a whopping 15 seasons and 162 episodes with no signs of stopping.
The show follows a group of alcoholic and narcissistic friends, called “The Gang,” who run a dive bar called Paddy’s Pub. It stars Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson, and Dany DeVito.
More from us: Remembering Ray Liotta’s Best Movie Roles
Though he’s busy with It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Day is certainly excited to let audiences finally see the film. “I just want to share it… It’s like a child. I’m super-proud of it. I’m ready for it to go out in the world. And if people don’t like the child, well, you know, they can suck it.”