The ‘Goodfellas’ Part Madonna Was Up For Went to a Future ‘Sopranos’ Star

by Jeremy Spirogis
Madonna and Debi Mazar in 1988

If you liked Goodfellas (1990), you possible took consolation within the casting of The Sopranos (1999-2007). In the basic HBO sequence, followers discovered one actor after one other who’d had important roles in Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed gangster image.

That listing contains Frank Vincent, the previous comedy associate of Joe Pesci who performed Billy “Go Get Your Shine Box” Batts in Goodfellas. In The Sopranos, Vincent had one other meaty function (because the dyspeptic Phil Leotardo). And in fact nobody can neglect the breakout efficiency of Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) as Spider in Goodfellas.

But essentially the most versatile member of the Goodfellas-to-Sopranos pipeline needed to be Lorraine Bracco, who acquired an Oscar nomination as Karen Hill earlier than taking part in psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi. According to a 2010 oral historical past of Goodfellas, Bracco had competitors from Madonna for the Karen Hill half.

A ‘Goodfellas’ producer recalled Madonna being ‘in the mix’ for the Karen Hill function

Madonna and Debi Mazar in 1988
Madonna and Debi Mazar attend the “Speed-the-Plow” Broadway Play Opening Night Performance on May 3, 1988. | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection through Getty Images

Back when Scorsese and producers have been searching for Goodfellas leads, Madonna was on the peak of her profession as a recording artist. After promoting some 25 million copies of True Blue (1986), she’d adopted with Like a Prayer (1989), which topped 10 million gross sales within the U.S. alone.

By then, she’d additionally constructed up a strong résumé as a display screen performer. Following her sturdy flip in Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), Madonna appeared within the musical Bloodhounds of Broadway (1987) and the blockbuster Dick Tracy (1990).

As Goodfellas producer Barbara De Fina instructed GQ in a 2010 oral historical past, Madonna was “in the mix” for the function of Karen Hill. In reality, it prompted De Fina and Scorsese to take a look at Madonna in David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow on Broadway in 1988.

“Marty said hello to her afterwards. There was definitely somebody somewhere wanting to cast her,” De Fina mentioned. “Can you imagine? Tom Cruise [up for Henry Hill] and Madonna? But Marty can get a performance out of almost anybody.”

Madonna bought combined opinions for her Broadway debut in 1988’s ‘Speed-the-Plow’

Madonna starring on Broadway in 1988Madonna starring on Broadway in 1988
Ron Silver, Madonna, and actor Joe Mantegna at opening evening social gathering for his or her Broadway play ‘Speed The Plow.’ | David Mcgough/DMI/The LIFE Picture Collection through Getty Images

With a plum function within the new, acclaimed Mamet play, Madonna had an awesome probability to impress Scorsese and De Fina. Apparently, that didn’t occur. Looking again at her opinions in Speed-the-Plow, Madonna didn’t win over most critics together with her efficiency.

“Being vacant on the stage requires more effort than it does in real life,” a New York Daily News reviewer wrote. Many echoed the cruel criticisms of Madonna in her Broadway debut. But Frank Rich wrote a glowing overview of her efficiency within the New York Times.

“It’s a relief to report that this rock star’s performance is safely removed from her own Hollywood persona,” Rich wrote. “Madonna serves Mr. Mamet’s play […] with intelligent, scrupulously disciplined comic acting.” Clearly, Scorsese noticed extra potential in Bracco.

“[She and Scorsese and Liotta] had a drink and we talked about the script and the book and blah blah blah and that was that,” Bracco instructed GQ. Bracco had been within the operating for a component in After Hours (1985), and Scorsese instructed her he’d discover one thing for her at some point. His prediction got here true just some years later, launching Bracco’s profession.

Leave a Comment