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Wild Hogs - Ray Liotta interview

Ray Liotta in Wild Hogs

Interview by Rob Carnevale

RAY Liotta talks about appearing in Wild Hogs, learning to ride a motorbike and his sense of satisfaction at appearing in seminal films such as Goodfellas and Field of Dreams...

Q. Is it true that you weren’t a motorcyclist before this? And was there much trepidation on your part doing it in the film?
Ray Liotta: The best way to learn anything is through a movie, because you have so much time to do it and you have great people teaching you. They had tons of bikes, we started out on the dirt on little bikes and gradually worked our way up.

The biggest problem I had was that I didn’t have the Rolls Royce of bikes like the other guys did, I had this big chopper, so that was kind of uncomfortable because of the big wheel. But the best way to learn anything is through a movie, because you have so much time to do it and you have great people teaching you.

Q. No falls or bumps?
Ray Liotta: Not yet! [Laughs nervously]

Q. I understand that some of your gang in the film are comprised of real bikers? What was their reaction to having Peter Fonda on set?
Ray Liotta: Probably the same as mine: “Oh my gosh, there’s Peter Fonda!” First he was coming, then he wasn’t coming. And yeah, some of the guys were real bikers from what I gather. They wouldn’t talk about it or admit to it, but that was the word on the set.

Q. How do you switch off from the pressures of everyday life?
Ray Liotta: Just by the nature of what we do it kind of gets you out of the regularities of life. Playing pretend for a living is a good way to have a release and playing make believe is a good way of getting away from it and doing things like this. So I think work gets me away from life.

Q. You have developed a bit of a reputation for being a screen psycho. Why do you think that people don’t offer you more comedies – or are they these days?
Ray Liotta: A little more now, there’s been a few. I like to think that even with some of the more intense ones sometimes there is humour in there, you try to make a complete human being, whether the guy is good or bad. But yeah, I would like to do a lot more of it, I feel comfortable with it and basically it’s all in the writing. I’m not a personality type actor, I need a good script in order to be funny, but it’s definitely something that I like doing.

Q. What friends would you take along as your companions on a fantasy road trip?
Ray Liotta: Probably friends of mine since third grade. My friend Gene and Jules, that’s who I would go with. I still remain good friends with them.

Q. Do you find it difficult to maintain old friendships or keep new ones given the nature of your career?
Ray Liotta: I think they’re more difficult to maintain with people that you work with five minutes ago, than from many years ago. For some reason we’ve just remained friends, we talk to each other all the time. For a while, for years, we spent New Year together.

Q. Do you still have fond memories of Goodfellas? Do you feel proud to be part of such an enduring film?
Ray Liotta: It’s just great to make movies, to be in a movie that opens on a weekend, but to be in one that seems like one of those movies that’s going to keep on going, like Field of Dreams, that just seems like it’s going to keep going, you can’t ask for anything better than that as an actor because obviously we’re doing this so people can see it and we hope that they do. To be in something that has a lasting effect is obviously what it’s all about.