Ray Liotta in "Killing Them Softly." (Photo : Weinstein Company)
Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly premiered Monday in New York at the SVA Theater.
Prior to the premiere, Dominik and film stars Ben Mendelsohn and Ray Liotta sat down for a round table discussion with 15 news reporters including this writer from Latinos Post.
Dominik came to the discussion first and was promptly joined by Mendelsohn for what amounted to a 15 minute session. Dominik had a great deal to offer about the process and stated that Brad Pitt signed on before the script was even written because he was interested in the story.
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The film, set in 2008, relates a hitman trying to kill a couple of criminals who robbed the local mob's card game. The film deals a great deal about the politics of the time and that as Dominik put it, "Every man is out for himself; not in it together" as politicians would have us believe. Dominik admitted however that he did not follow politics and that the changing climate did not really affect his decisions.
Regarding his casting choices, Dominik stated that he had tried to cast it like a 1940's screwball comedy where all the characters were recognizable types. The rationale behind this was that it would be "easy for the audience to tell who's who."
Among those he cast was childhood friend Ben Mendelsohn who played a washed-up drug addict who joins the card game robbery. As to what fascinated him about the role in the film, Mendelsohn said that "everyone loves the cops and robbers."
Finally Dominik added a comic touch to the discussion regarding his inclusion of President Obama throughout the film. When asked how it was to direct Obama, Dominik responded, "He was great. He needed just one take and you believed everything he said."
After the two exited, Ray Liotta entered the room. The actor talked about his interest in the role of Mark Trattman and how he chooses his roles. He was drawn to Killing Them Softly because it was the first time that he would not be going around beating people; he was the one being pummeled. He added that he was highly invested in the role and did not want a stunt double during production.
During preparations for the role, Liotta related a story of how he played poker a great deal at a local bar with professionals, none of which had any acting experience or understanding of the process. He decided to bring them on set to help him relax in one scene, but the men all froze when the camera started to roll.
Inevitably, there was a question for Liotta about Goodfellas (the film that launched his career) and whether he tried to distance himself from the buzz in order to move his career in new directions. Liotta stated that he embraced any connection from the film and relished being a part of it. He added that he never tries to distance himself from the classic film or his participation in it.
As for future projects, Liotta stated that he had no interest in directing. While he did not completely dismiss the possibility, he did state that he would not feel incomplete if he never did it. He will be seen next in The Place Beyond the Pines and The Iceman. He added that he just finished working on a film The Identical, one of his favorite roles he has ever played.
Dominik is currently trying to find backing for his next film Blonde. According to the Australian director, the film relates screen icon Marilyn Monroe. Mendelsohn will also appear in The Place Beyond the Pines and another film called Mothers.
The film comes out in 2,000 theaters on Friday, November 30.