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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Ray Liotta Had Trouble Shooting FIELD OF DREAMS and Never Did See the Film for a Personal Reason — GeekTyrant

Actor Ray Liotta played a number of iconic roles, and as we grieve the loss of him this week, we look back at one of his great roles – as Shoeless Joe Jackson in the fantastic film Field of Dreams. A couple of years ago, Liotta spoke of his most well-known roles in an interview with GQ, and he talked about the trouble he had shooting the film, which he incidentally never saw.

First of all, Liotta almost didn’t take the part. As you can imagine, the script was a little confusing for the actor. While it turned out to be a beautiful story about a man being able to reconnect with his dead father, the story was hard for Liotta to grasp at first. He explained:

“I wasn’t script savvy and I couldn’t imagine this guy digging up his cornfield to put a ball field there cause he was hearing things. It just sounded so silly to me. I just didn’t get it. But, I learned quickly that I was wrong. And what really convinced me was because James Earl Jones was in it. I knew Kevin because we all used to hang out playing paddle tennis when nothing was happening for any of us. Andy Garcia, Steven Bauer, they were all guys that ended up doing movies and we had this group before anything happened. And then I heard Burt Lancaster’s gonna be in it, so I guess they think it’s good. (Laughs). Who am I to say it’s silly?”

When in doubt, a group of impressive co-stars is a solid reason to take the role. But once he committed, he ran into a tough situation. He went on to explain:

“I bat, me, Ray, bat right-handed, I throw left-handed. Shoeless Joe batted left-handed and threw right-handed. So, I was, they put me at USC with the coach of USC who had won 13 national champions and there was this guy Donnie Buford, who used to play for the Orioles, he was his assistant. So, I was practicing left-handed, and obviously, I thought they would just do camera tricks. Well, the producers and the director came down one day to watch how I was coming along, and they saw, since I wasn’t left-handed, but they batted really stilted back then, so I thought we could get away with it. And because it was only my third movie, I wasn’t gonna say, ‘No, this is what you have to do.’”

Liotta concluded: “They said, ‘Doesn’t matter. Shoeless Joe never came back from the dead, you can bat right-handed.’ I bat left-handed and throw right-handed, so. But, no, I’ve never seen it.”

As for why the actor never saw the film, he talks about the personal reason:

“It has to do more with something personal that was going on at that time. So, when I did go to see it, my mother was sick, and we couldn’t stay. I just, I’ve never seen it.”

It’s too bad that he didn’t see the film. It’s a classic movie that so many count as a favorite. He gave a beautiful performance that will live on.

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