After years of avoiding crime films, he’s back as a mafioso in the Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark. He talks about being adopted and getting into acting – and saves a surprise for the end

I am a little trepidatious ahead of my interview with Ray Liotta because the reviews, shall we say, are mixed. Not about his acting, which has been accoladed and adored from his first major film role, as Melanie Griffith’s crazy ex in 1986’s Something Wild, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe. No, the problematic reviews are about Liotta personally. One person who worked with him described him to me as “the rudest arsehole I ever met”; another said he’s “a bit of a wildcard”, and I suspect that the latter is a euphemism for the former.

This would explain a long-running movie mystery: why isn’t he more successful?’ It took Liotta, now 66, until he was 30 to bag Something Wild, but after that, movie stardom seemed assured. He went from there to starring opposite Tom Hulce in the little-remembered Dominick and Eugene, and then playing “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in the extremely well-remembered Field of Dreams.

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