Taron Egerton has described working with Ray Liotta on Black Bird as his “most fully realised” working relationship ever with another cast member.
The actor plays Liotta’s on-screen son, James Keene, in the Apple TV+ series, based on the autobiographical novel In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, And A Dangerous Bargain For Redemption by Keene and Hillel Levin.
“We just clicked and we were very open and frank and candid with each other,” he said. “And I think also just very excited about playing those roles. You know, as an actor, when you are presented with a piece of writing like the one that Dennis [Lehane] presented myself and Ray Liotta with, it’s really galvanising and you just can’t wait to bring it to life.
“Particularly when you get a scene partner like Ray, you really feel a sense of opportunity and a thrill. I think, for his own reasons that I can’t speak to, he really connected with that character.”
He added: “I suppose what I’m trying to say to you is he brought a level of commitment to that and a level of care and thought and passion and a level of himself to the role that I found very inspiring to be across.
“And I believe, of any relationship I’ve built with another actor and a character relationship, it’s the one that I feel is the most fully realised and that I feel most proud of.”
Following his death, Egerton paid tribute on Instagram, where he described working with him as a “profound experience”.
“I have never felt such an easy, warm connection with another performer,” Egerton wrote. “He was so generous. If I went one way he followed me. Always dancing. Always listening. Never self-generated.”
Liotta completed another project before his death in thriller film Cocaine Bear, directed and produced by Elizabeth Banks. The film, set to be released on February 24, 2023, is inspired by the true story of an American black bear that ingested a duffel bag of cocaine in 1985.
In a five-star review of Black Bird, NME wrote: “Ray Liotta gives a moving portrayal of Jimmy’s father Big Jim Keene, a man in rapidly deteriorating health. The scenes between he and Robyn Malcolm, who plays his wife Sammy, are particularly touching, and it is a blessing that Liotta was given such great material with which to end his career.”