From the files of near-misses: Alec Baldwin once auditioned to play Henry Hill in Goodfellas.
It’s a story that’s not necessarily new — producer Irwin Winkler talked about Baldwin’s interest, along with that of Sean Penn and Val Kilmer, in an interview with Playboy this year — but Baldwin relayed the anecdote while speaking with Howard Stern on SiriusXM radio on Tuesday.
“I had auditioned for the part in Goodfellas. I had went to Scorsese’s apartment, and I went and auditioned for Scorsese,” Baldwin said. He then remembered talking with Liotta years later about the film during a panel at the Savannah Film Festival in Georgia.
“I said to Ray, ‘You know Ray, a lot of times guys get parts that I go up for and I don’t get the part and I think to myself — I think I would have been better in that part. But you’re the one example of someone where I go that’s not true,'” Baldwin recalled. “‘Ray, no one could have done that better than you.’ And he reaches over and goes, ‘I agree.'”
“When Marty wanted to cast Ray, I said, ‘Why Ray?'” Winkler recalled in an interview that was included as part of the recent Goodfellas anniversary Blu-ray release. “I kept saying look at other people, let’s see who else is out there.” Winkler then met Liotta out at a restaurant and was convinced of his capability to play the role.