TODAY   |  November 26, 2012

Ray Liotta on ‘Killing Them Softly’

Actor Ray Liotta talks to TODAY’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb about playing the “nice guy of the bad guys” as a mob lackey in the film “Killing Them Softly,” and inviting his real-life poker buddies to help him laugh on-screen.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the gun down.

>> oh! hey, ray.

>> the producer who saw that said they are going to show the scene of you in the bathtub. what do you mean, the bathtub? it does look like i'm in a bathtub.

>> where were you?

>> weren't you in a bathtub?

>> no, it was a bar, i was reaching down getting him the money.

>> i thought the guy put you in a bathtub.

>> wow, maybe that's a good way to sell it.

>> fully clothed. if i were going to whack somebody, i'd put them in the bathtub, make the cleanup easier.

>> that's true. that's true.

>> you're kind of the nicest guy of the bad guys in the show.

>> there arer no bad guys in it.

>> much worse than me.

>> tell us about your character.

>> i'm a nice guy who runs a poker game , oversees it for the bad guys . i once robbed the poker game , but in a nice way, then it got robbed again and they thought it's me, so the bad guys come after me. but this time it wasn't me.

>> in real life , you love to play poker, right, play with real high-stakes gambler guys. you invited them to be in the scene with you. tell us about what happened.

>> we shot it in new orleans. across the hotel there's a haras. i'm not good, i was learning from them and became friends with them because i'm there a lot when i came working. they are being nice, let them be in the movie with me. they are always putting down, oh, it's easy what you do, doesn't look that hard. as soon as action came, they froze, couldn't say a word.

>> what happened then?

>> made me laugh more, so it worked out well, just because they were so scared.

>> isn't it funny how these really macho guys, camera, lights, action, camera --

>> you get the tar kicked out of you in a couple of scenes here.

>> i do.

>> usually you're the one doing the kicking.

>> on the giving end.

>> that's one of the reasons i like this, aside from the people i was working with.

>> name a few of them.

>> brad pitt , andrew domelick, really good actors. this time i took the beating.

>> ever thought about being in a romantic comedy ?

>> i just played a preacher.

>> what was that like for you to be a person of a spiritual --

>> it was great, it was great. i never really read much of the bible, but i started reading it, whoa, mean people.

>> real housewives of the hold testament.

>> unbelievable back then.

>> i know. well, ray, always interesting when you come on. happy holidays to you.

>> no more teases.

>> doesn't like the teases, they are too long. anyway, "killing them softly" opens on november