"He just embraced me, and we stayed that way for a little while."

Taron Egerton recalled watching his "hero" Ray Liotta suffer from poor health a year before his death. 

The Rocketman star will appear with the late actor in the new Apple TV+ limited series Black Bird, marking one of Liotta's final roles. Though Egerton revealed that working alongside Liotta was one of the highlights of his career, he said he could tell he was physically unwell at the time.

During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Thursday night, Egerton was visibly emotional while he praised Liotta and talked to guest host Chelsea Handler about seeing him in a "frail" state. 

Black Bird
Taron Egerton and Ray Liotta in 'Black Bird'
| Credit: Apple TV+ (2)

"Sometimes actors can be... we're a weird bunch, we do weird stuff, so I thought I'd leave him to it, give him his space, and across the room he sort of caught my eye and just stood up, walked towards me in a sort of frail way," Egerton said. "He's in ailing health in the show, and he just embraced me, and we stayed that way for a little while. It was kind of weird but really nice as well."

Egerton added that it meant a lot to him to be able to portray Liotta's character's son and work with someone he looked up to.

"He was something of a hero to me, and when I read this script it's got a very touching and really dysfunctional relationship at the heart of it," he said. 

In the gritty psychological thriller, the Goodfellas and Many Saints of Newark star portrays a decorated policeman whose incarcerated son (Egerton) is compelled to enter a maximum-security prison to try to elicit a confession from a suspected serial killer.

Liotta died in May at 67 in his sleep while filming the movie Dangerous Waters in the Dominican Republic.

Edgerton added that the premier of Black Bird on Wednesday gave him the chance to mourn with Liotta's daughter, Karsen Liotta, and his fiancée, Jacy Nittolo. 

"We had the premiere last night, he said. "His daughter and fiancée were there to honor him, and we really have lost one of the greats, and he's amazing in the show. I loved, loved working with him."

Black Bird, which also stars Sepideh Moafi and Greg Kinnear, is written and executive-produced by best-selling author Dennis Lehane. The six-episode series is an adaptation of the true-crime memoir In With the Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption, by James Keene and Hillel Levin.

The first two episodes premiere July 8 on Apple TV+, followed by a new episode each week. 

Watch the clip of Egerton talking about Liotta above.

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