Elizabeth Banks opened up about her final experiences with the late Ray Liotta who died in his sleep back in May 2022.
Banks most recently directed the action-horror film Cocaine Bear, which is set to hit theaters this Friday, February 24. Liotta starred in the movie, in what was ultimately his last acting appearance.
But besides working with Ray, which Banks said he “just came so joyfully into it the whole time,” she talked to People about what he was like off set, especially with his fiancee, Jacy Nittolo, in a memory she has that “he wouldn’t even know I saw.”
The movie was filmed in Dalkey, a suburb in Dublin, Ireland, to which Banks said, “It’s beautiful. The main street is called Castle Street because there’s a castle on it, along with pubs and a wine shop. And it was just so charming.
“And I was sitting in a cafe one night after work,” she continued, “and I saw Ray walking the street with his fiancée, Jacy. They were holding hands. They were clearly coming from dinner. They looked like teenage lovers.
“[That] is the image that I have of him,” she added. “Not from set or playing the character, but of him just living his best life in Ireland on this beautiful night, walking on this street with a woman that he loved.”
Ray managed to finish shooting his scenes before his death. Banks talked with ET on Tuesday at the red carpet for the premiere of the film about Ray being able to watch the final cut of his scenes, despite never having seen the final product of the movie altogether.
“He never saw the final movie, but he did see all of his scenes,” she said. “And he saw the bear, which is the most important thing, because the poor guy like everyone had to act with, you know, a guy in a black suit and a stuntman and just sort of hope that it looks cool.”
Liotta returned to the studio to re-record audio samples after they were finished shooting.
“He came in for ADR eight days before he passed away, actually,” she added, “and he loved it. He was so happy. He was laughing. It was just delightful.”
The film is loosely based on a true story, and sees a bear who stumbles upon a stash of cocaine and becomes enraged and goes on a murderous rampage.
Despite the extremely “out there” premise of the movie, Banks was drawn to the script more so for the complexity and development of the characters rather than the plot itself.
“There’s so much going on besides the bear,” she declared. “And I hope that’s what people take away from it – that they find someone sort of relatable in the movie. I just fell in love with all the characters, truly.”
The movie hits theaters on Friday and stars Ray Liotta, Keri Russell, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Kristofer Hivju, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, just to name a few.