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Casting the (Rumored) 'Goodfellas' TV Series

by Sharon Knolle, posted Sep 24th 2010 1:00PM
When we heard the news that Martin Scorsese's iconic gangster flick 'Goodfellas' might become a TV series, our first thought -- besides, "No effin' way!" -- was "Who can possibly fill the shoes of Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci?"

We thought about some really big names (Gary Oldman! James Gandolfini!) but then we scaled down our thoughts to actors who might be able to reinvent these characters well enough to avoid getting whacked. And without bankrupting any networks.

Read on for some actors who might give 'Goodfellas' a good run, and vice versa.

Character: Henry Hill
Played in the film by: Ray Liotta
Our suggestion: Joaquin Phoenix
Reasoning: Joaquin, you crazy kid, your comeback role is waiting! The beard is gone, he's officially not nuts ... and ready for a juicy role like Henry Hill. He can rival Liotta's intensity and does both tender and tyrannical to a T. Admit it, you'd tune into a TV adaptation if he was on board, if just out of curiosity. So he's not Italian; neither was Hill.
Backup pick: Wes Bentley, who's proven he can do unsettling even when he's playing the nice kid next door ('American Beauty') and full-on psychopath in 'P2.' Plus, this under-the-radar actor is long overdue for a career-defining role.

Character: Jimmy Conway
Played in the film by: Robert De Niro
Our suggestion: Adrian Pasdar
Reasoning: OK, our first pick is Christopher Meloni, but what are the chances he'll ever leave 'Law & Order: SVU?' Slim to none! So we had to ask, who else has the gravitas, the menace and the sartorial style to play one of De Niro's most dapper, but also most dangerous, characters? This guy. He made a damn convincing Italian on 'Heroes' as Nathan Petrelli, didn't he? And here he wouldn't suffer the indignity of being taken over by another mutant; once you're whacked in the real world, you stay dead!


Character: Tommy DeVito
Played in the film by: Joe Pesci
Our suggestion: Jeremy Renner
Reasoning: If you're going to recast this Oscar-winning part, you better get an Oscar-worthy actor and Renner, who was nominated for his cocky lead role in 'The Hurt Locker,' fits the bill. Plus, he's made a career of playing shoot-first-ask-questions-later characters, like his hotheaded bank robber in 'The Town.' Yes, we know he's not Italian either, but we're pretty sure Renner can fake it. If, that is, he'd consider doing TV at this point in his career.
Backup pick: Alessandro Nivola, who aced playing a paranoid schizophrenic in 'Face/Off.' And is really Italian.

Character: Karen Hill
Played in the film by: Lorraine Bracco
Our suggestion: Vera Farmiga
Reasoning: She's been dynamite in everything we've ever seen her in, from 'The Departed' to 'Up in the Air' and her little-seen lead role in the indie 'Down to the Bone.' The pivotal part of Henry Hill's wife needs someone who's tough but sexy, and who gets kinda turned on when asked to hide her man's bloodstained gun. Like Renner, Farmiga (whose previous series include 'Touching Evil' and 'UC: Undercover') may be too hot for TV right now. Then again, she's expecting her second child in October and may welcome a job that keeps in her one place.
Backup pick: The always tough and sexy Carla Gugino, who keeps saying yes to TV shows ('Karen Sisco' and 'Threshold') that don't work out

Character: Paulie Cicero
Played in the film by: Paul Sorvino
Our suggestion: Paul Sorvino
Reasoning: Because we can't picture anyone else in the part. Plus, he's done TV before (remember him on 'Law & Order?') and we're pretty sure he'd say yes, if Scorsese gave his blessing.


Do you agree with our choices? Think we're aiming too high? Tell us your 'Goodfellas' casting ideas in the comments!

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33 Comments

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Mr S

This sounds like it can work as a series. What about Anthony Alessandro? He was in the original show and would be perfect for the series any news about him?

October 03 2010 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Monica

Joaquin Phoenix = Henry Hill
Vera Farmiga = Karen Hill
Tommy DeVito = George Pogatsia
Jimmy Conway = Domenic Lombardozzi
Paul Cicero = Alec Baldwin

This is a solid cast with a NY feel. that's one reason the movie was great.

October 02 2010 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shempbat

Why not just bring back the original cast and call it "Oldfellas"?

September 28 2010 at 2:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lauralee

It's official... Hollywood is out of ideas! How about coming up with something new?

September 27 2010 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pamela

You have a good idea there. He is a good actor and very scary.

September 27 2010 at 8:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pamela

I won't watch anything that Joaquin Phoenix in it. He is just creepy. IMHO the only reason he is a 'known' is because of his very talented brother River.

September 27 2010 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lefty

James Madio As Tommy Devito.....perfect

September 27 2010 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lefty's comment
NANCEE

I AGRREE WITH LEFTY, JAMES MADIO IN JOE PESCE ROLE

September 28 2010 at 12:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kluji

Mr Phoenix would suck and ruin the show!

September 27 2010 at 6:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lefty

Joaquin Phoenix = Henry Hill
Vera Farmiga = Karen Hill
Tommy DeVito = James Madio
Jimmy Conway = Domenic Lombardozzi
Paul Cicero = Alec Baldwin

September 27 2010 at 6:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
B.P. Dumas

If you're gonna make a goodfellas tv series, how about a role for Javier Bardem, he was so incredible as the stone face tracker/hitman/psychopath in no country for old men.
he would be frakking incredible in a mob related TV
series.

September 27 2010 at 6:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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