Entertainment TV Ray Liotta Passed on a Role in 'The Sopranos' Because He 'Didn't Want to Do Another Mafia Thing' "It just didn’t feel right at the time," Ray Liotta said of his decision not to join iconic HBO mobster series The Sopranos 20 years ago; he finally joins the franchise next month By Dan Heching Dan Heching Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on September 24, 2021 07:47 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Warner bros. productions/ youtube Ray Liotta is commenting on his choice not to be a part of HBO's hit mob series The Sopranos –– a franchise he will finally join in next month's Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark. Liotta, 66, says Sopranos creator David Chase "once talked" to him about playing the smaller role of Ralph Cifaretto –– not, as rumor had it, the starring role of Tony Soprano. "No! I don't know where that story came from," Liotta told The Guardian about the rumor he was in line to play Tony. "David once talked to me about playing Ralphie. But never Tony." Ray Liotta Reveals He's Engaged to Jacy Nittolo: 'Christmas Wishes Do Come True' As for why he turned the Ralphie role (which was ultimately played by Joe Pantoliano) down, the Goodfellas actor felt it was time to do something new in his career. "I didn't want to do another mafia thing, and I was shooting Hannibal," he told the outlet, referencing the 2001 Silence of the Lambs sequel he starred in. "It just didn't feel right at the time." Liotta, who had made a name for himself thanks to hits like Goodfellas in 1990 and Field of Dreams the year before, was trying to reposition himself after other mob-related entries like James Mangold's Cop Land in 1997. RELATED VIDEO: James Gandolfini's Son, Michael, on Playing Young Tony Soprano and Developing His 'Physicality' Lorraine Bracco Remembers The Sopranos' James Gandolfini: 'Anything Was a Party…with Jimmy' The Unlawful Entry star also said he "didn't know" why he never again got to work with Martin Scorsese, his director in Goodfellas, but would "love to" if the opportunity presented itself once more. In spite of saying no to The Sopranos 20 years ago, Liotta is finally finding himself in that universe, thanks to a role in the upcoming Tony Soprano origin story The Many Saints of Newark. In fact, the star aggressively pursued a role in the project this time around, even paying for his own flight to New York to talk with Chase about the role. "I'm really not sure what made me so determined," he reflected. "But I was and luckily it all worked out." Perhaps it's because The Many Saints of Newark is set in the New Jersey city during the 1960s, which is exactly where and when Liotta himself was raised. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday. In the film, the actor will play Aldo 'Hollywood Dick' Moltisanti, father to central character Richard 'Dickie' Moltisanti played by Alessandro Nivola. Critics are raving about the prequel film, which sees the formation of late actor James Gandolfini's vicious Tony Soprano during his teenage years with the actor's son, Michael, portraying a younger version of the character. The Many Saints of Newark premieres October 1 in theaters and on HBO Max.