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Taron Egerton "proud" to have worked with "inspiring" Ray Liotta

Award-winning actor Liotta passed away in May 2022.

Ray Liotta in Black Bird
Apple TV+
Published: Thursday, 7th July 2022 at 9:00 am
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Taron Egerton has opened up about working with the late Ray Liotta on Apple TV+ drama Black Bird, revealing he still feels "emotional" about the experience.

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The iconic Goodfellas star suddenly passed away in May 2022, prompting an outpouring of affection across social media from fans and peers, admiring his talent and good nature.

One of several posthumous releases, Black Bird features Liotta as an ex-police officer who got uncomfortably close with organised crime during his days on the job, which paved the way for his son (Egerton) eventually ending up behind bars.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Egerton explained how he quickly connected with Liotta during their time working together and felt his co-star had palpable enthusiasm for the material.

"We just clicked and we were very open and frank and candid with each other. And I think also just very, very excited about playing those roles," began the Rocketman star.

"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.

He continued: "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."

Egerton was struck by Liotta's "almost disarmingly present" approach to his work, revealing that he never left the set even during downtime between setups and takes.

"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," explained Egerton.

"And I believe, of any relationship I've built with another actor and a character relationship, it’s the one that I feel is most fully realised and that I feel most proud of."

Black Bird is inspired by the true story of Jimmy Keene, who is offered a deal by authorities that would see his 10-year prison sentence expunged, if only he can coax a confession out of a suspected serial killer in a maximum security institution.

Fearing that his ailing father may not be alive by the time his full sentence can be served, Jimmy reluctantly takes the deal but the extreme scenario places further strain on their relationship.

"They’re two characters that love each other desperately, but to a fault," added Egerton. "They're sort of involved in messing each other up a bit as well, I think. So it was a really nuanced relationship on the page and really interesting.

"And I feel that Ray and I did a pretty good job of bringing it to life and I'll always be very proud of that. I'll always be very, very proud to have worked with him. And I actually believe people will see something new from Ray with this role.

"He had a great facility for vulnerability and menace and spontaneity, but what I believe he has in abundance in this role is a kind of tenderness that I think you don't see every day. I loved working with him."

Read more: Taron Egerton talks Black Bird, Ray Liotta and his 'pivot' from Rocketman

Black Bird premieres on Apple TV+ on Friday 8th July 2022. New episodes weekly. Sign up to Apple TV+ now.

Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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