Taron Egerton Working With Ray Liotta for ‘Black Bird’: Black Bird actor Taron Egerton is the first to acknowledge that James Keene, at least in the early episodes of the new Apple TV+ limited series, isn’t the easiest guy to root for.
‘Black Bird’ On Apple TV+
Therefore, it was already a stretch for the outgoing 32-year-old Welsh actor best known for the movies Kingsman and Rocket Man to play the egomaniacal meathead who consents to befriend a suspected serial killer in jail in exchange for being released from ten years of drug trafficking charges. Hauser is played by Paul Walter Hauser.
But when you take into account that Keene is based on a real person, things get a little trickier.
The series is based on his autobiography In With the Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption, which was adapted for the film by Dennis Lehane, one of Hollywood’s favorite crime writers (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island).
“The Jimmy you see on film is a character Dennis created; it’s not the real Jimmy. Therefore, it’s crucial to draw those contrasts before I say what I’m about to, Egerton explains in a recent interview.
Which is to say that the character isn’t always likeable, at least not at the beginning of the novel. He is egocentric, quite violent, and excessively masculine in my opinion. However, he also possesses qualities that are quite appealing and demonstrate his ability for goodness. He is very, very caring and devoted to his father, you know.
Ray Liotta, the Goodfellas actor who passed away in May at the age of 67, portrays his father, the disgraced ex-cop known as Big Jim Keene, in Black Bird. This marks one of his final on-screen appearances.
Egerton recalls, “It was a pretty special experience for me. “I was quite happy when I found out that Dennis had always wanted Ray to perform the part.
And man, he did not let us down. He was, in my opinion, at the height of his artistic abilities. He was a fantastic person to perform opposite and an amazing person to be around.
He treated me with the utmost kindness, warmth, and openness. It was merely a peculiar sensation. It’s a little challenging to explain it in full.
My time spent working with Ray simply seemed to be surrounded by a small amount of enchantment. For me, it was a memorable period.
Egerton remembers one particular encounter with Liotta that has stayed with him.
“It was very great when I first met him. He remained silent toward me. He simply approached me and gave me a long embrace.
It was pleasant, if a little strange. The fact that he was my father first and foremost, as opposed to being a colleague, made me feel as though he was setting the tone.
And while it was strange and unheard of for me, it actually set us on a course for the kind of creative experience that, in my opinion, benefited the work. Amazing instinct on his side, I must say.
For his role as the cocaine-dealing meathead Jimmie, Egerton put on a significant amount of weight, predominantly muscle.
The actor has never looked more buff for a part. He chuckles, “Definitely by the sixth episode. “Because I worked out [while Jimmy was doing weights in jail], I discovered that I developed with him in the show.
It is undoubtedly the largest I have ever been—much larger than Kingsmen.
It makes sense that in recent years, speculations have persisted that Egerton may shortly succeed his friend and fellow Eddie the Eagle co-star Hugh Jackman as Marvel’s perpetually torn Wolverine.
He responds, adding that people like us have also been questioning him about that for years.
“I still think it’s a great idea; I just find it a little confusing. Actually, you know, I’m starting to possibly see it more now that I’m in my early to mid-30s.
But you know, I thought, “Are you kidding me?,” when someone first asked me that when I was 27. I look 12.’ Who knows, though?
Black Bird trailer