Taron Egerton shared a heartfelt text message exchange he had with his late colleague, actor Ray Liotta.
Egerton–who won critical acclaim for his portrayal of a young Elton John in 2019's Rocketman–appeared on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show to discuss his new Apple TV+ series, Black Bird, in which he played the son of Liotta's character.
Black Bird is a crime drama inspired by actual events. It featured Liotta in what was to be the Primetime Emmy Award-winning actor's final television appearance.
Liotta passed away in his sleep on May 26, 2022 while working on a movie in the Dominican Republic.
The New Jersey native, famous for his performance in the 1990 crime classic Goodfellas, was 67.
In this week's SiriusXM interview, a visibly emotional Egerton recalled his time on set working with Liotta and the text he received after catching an early screening of Black Bird.
“When I first saw the show, I texted Ray, and we were excited to see one another again. I said: ‘Your performance in the show is beautiful, and I’m really proud of the work we did'."
"And all he said was, ‘You made it very easy to love my son'.”
You can watch that segment from the interview, here.
Egerton said after initially reading the script for the new series, the relationship between the two characters played by him and Liotta was the element of the show that appealed to him the most.
"That really is the beating heart of the show," he said.
“It was just a profound thing working with Ray, playing these two roles, and a real highlight of the whole experience."
“We just connected immediately. It was an odd thing, and it was all dictated by him."
"It was dictated by the way that he handled himself, and the way that he conducted himself as an actor on set.”
Black Bird is based on Jimmy Keene's 2010 memoir, In With the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption.
Played by Egerton, Keene was a high school footballer convicted of a crime and sentenced to ten years in prison.
While there, Keene is presented with an unusual offer by the FBI–his freedom, if he can elicit a confession from suspected serial killer Larry Hall. What follows is a compelling look into one of the biggest challenges of Keene's life.
Liotta played James “Big Jim” Keene, who was Jimmy's father and a former cop.
The eight-part true crime series will be available for streaming on Apple TV+ on July 8.
In an interview with IndieWire at the 2018 ATX Festival, Liotta recalled how we went from doing movies to acting on the small screen.
“I was in movies [and] when I started, if you were doing a television show or commercials or something, you were at the end of the line"
"The films were drying up and these people starting going into [TV]. Karl Malden — an unbelievable actor who was in On the Waterfront — he’s doing Streets of San Francisco, but it was toward the end of his career.”
Liotta starred alongside Jennifer Lopez in the NBC crime drama Shades of Blue for three seasons from 2016-2018.
After portraying major characters like Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams (1989) and Justice Department official Paul Krendler in Hannibal (2001), he said that getting a TV gig after doing movies for years meant that “your career was over,” but said he "loved" the experience.
“I’m hungry to do another 13-episode type thing,” he said at the time on Shades of Blue as Lieutenant Matt Wozniak.
“I’m truly, truly gonna miss doing it because it was a great, great character.”