- Alec Baldwin, Married To The Mob, 1988. Director Jonathan Demme's film was something of a continuation of Something Wild, "but Ray didn't want to play another bad guy." Or, not until Martin Scorsese called about Goodfellas.
- -Billy Dee Williams, Batman, 1988.
- Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992. Director Francis Coppola decided to make the old legend "younger, very erotic, very romantic and very horrific." Losing his favourites - Jeremy Irons, Daniel Day-Lewis - he looked at everyone else, mainly during auditions at his Napa Valley estate… Liotta, Armand Assante, Antonio Banderas, Nick Cassavetes, Nicolas Cage, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Andy Garcia, Hugh Grant, Kyle MacLachlan, Costas Mandylor, Viggo Mortensen, Dermot Mulroney, Michael Nouri (a long way from Flashdance), Adrian Pasdar, Jason Patric, Aiden Quinn, Keanu Reeves, Alan Rickman, Christian Slater and Sting.
- Tim Robbins, Short Cuts, 1993. One of Ray's earliest roles was a corpse in a soap. Now the entire project was dead as venerated director Robert Altman's backing evaporated in 1990... before The Player got it rolling anew.
- Jeremy Irons, The Lion King, 1993. In the frame to voice the villainous Scar in the 32nd Disney toon - “Bambi meets Hamlet in Africa”- were top Brits, Sean Connery, Tim Curry, Malcolm McDowell. And assorted Hollywood-mafiosi Lotta, James Caan, Robert Duvall.
- -Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996. Hollywood goes Who. Why? For the pilot of a USeries to exhume the BBC science-fiction cult, buried since it ran out of puff after 26 seasons in 1989. As if to prove this was big deal LA in action (!), some 63 actors were listed for Doc8 and a further 71 (well, some were on both lists) for his foe, The Master. Such as… James Bond, Caligula, Dracula, Gandhi, Freddy Krueger, Magnum, Jean-Luc Picard, Han Solo, Spock and - hey, they’re doctors! - Emmett Brown and Frank-N-Furter. Aka… Timothy Dalton, Malcolm McDowell, Christopher Lee, Ben Kingsley, Robert Englund, Tom Selleck, Patrick Stewart, Harrison Ford, Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Lloyd. Tim Curry. And a certain… Henry Hill.
- -James Gandolfini, Perdita Durango, Mexico-USA-Spain, 1996. Ray succeeded Dennis Hopper as Dumas before Spanish director Bigas Luna handed the show to Álex De la Iglesi.
- -James Gandolfini, The Sopranos, TV, 1999-2007. Stupido! First choice of creator David Chase for mobster Tony (ex-Tommy) Soprano was one of the Goodfellas cast, 1989. In all, some 27 actors from the Martin Scorses film appeared in or around Soprano’s New Jersey crime family. Liotta, however, was not keen on TV.
- Joe Pantoliano, The Sopranos, TV, 1999-2007. When the show proved a huge HBO hit, then he entered talks to be Ralph Cifaretto: by chance, also arrogant, disrespectful, obnoxious. And quickly rubbed out.
- Forest Whitaker, Phone Booth, 2001. Could not settle on a deal to play the tough Big Apple police captain involved in the bizarre case of a guy trapped in a Manhattan phone booth by a caller - a serial killer with a sniper rifle.
- John Turturro, Fear X, Denmark-UK-Canada, 2003. Gary Oldman, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Sizemore were also talked of for the Hubert J Selby story, more echoing Blow Up, Memento, The Pledge, than his Last Exit To Brooklyn.
- Gary Sinise, CSI: NY, 2004-2008. Liotta (and earlier, Andy Garcia) had invitations to head the new spin-off as Detective Rick Calucci. Sinise’s cop was finally called Mac Taylor. In the original CSI, William Petersen changed this character’s family name from Scheinbaum to Grissom to honour his favourite NASAstronaut Gus Grissom.
- Cillian Murphy, Red Eye, 2004. Horrorsmith Wes Craven also saw Kevin Bacon, Nicolas Cage, Willem Dafoe, John Malkovich, Edward Norton, Sean Penn, Michael Pitt and John Travolta. Craven said Murphy’s eyes won the creepy.... Jackson Rippner. (Geddit?)
- Tom Arnold, Happy Endings, 2005. Liotta refused the blue collar father of a gay son and is, therefore, to blame for Tom’s first - hide! hide! - sex scene.
- 1 Mark Wahlberg, The Departed, 2006. Being booked elsewhere meant that Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas star lost a key role - and an Oscar nomination - in the latest Scorsese venture.
- Russell Crowe, American Gangster, 2007. As directors switched from David Fincher, Antoine Fuqua to Peter Berg, Terry George - and, finally, Ridley Scott - so did the cop chasing the 1970s’ Manhattan drug kingpin in the 70s… from Liotta and Brad Pitt to Crowe.
- Adrien Brody, Giallo, Italy-Spain-UK-US, 2008. Not a good idea… Giallo is Italian for yellow and refers to the jackets of horror-thriller books (like the French have Serie Noir for cop thrillers) and, indeed, for the films of Dario Argento (Tenebre, Opera, etc). This time his torture-porn was way off, making the worst of Jess Franco look good.
- David Zayas, 13, 2009. Skedules, skedules...! Liotta had to leave. Good news for the ex-NYPD cop turned actor... playing cops here and there in Law & Order, 16 Blocks, Law & Order, Michael Clayton. The film worked better in French - even though both versions were writer-directed by the same guy, Gela Babluani. He forgot his edginess in his bags for Hollywood.