Michael Imperioli remembers the ‘Goodfellas’ scene that despatched him to the hospital


Michael Imperioli sat down with CNN’s Chris Wallace to debate the enduring actors he met engaged on the units of “Goodfellas” and “The Sopranos” – and the scene that despatched him to the emergency room.

Imperioli, 56, received his large break after being solid in Martin Scorsese’s basic mob movie “Goodfellas” on the age of 23.

Working with Scorsese was a dream come true for the younger actor, he stated. “That’s like going from college to play on the Yankees in the World Series or something.”

And dealing with actors Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, and Ray Liotta was extra “thrilling” than intimidating for Imperioli.

“For some strange reason. I really like when the stakes are high,” he defined. “I like being under a lot of pressure, in terms of work.”

He credit Scorsese along with his consolation on set. “Marty made me feel so comfortable,” he stated. “From the moment I met him, the moment I got there, he made me feel like I belong there. And I was an actor. And the very first job I had in film, the director did not make me feel that way.”

Scorsese “was very, very kind, and I think knew that – how important it was to me. Because I had been trying, I had been studying and trying to get work for, at that point six years, you know?” he stated.

“Most of what you see is all improvised, which is even more a testament to how trusting he is of actors, especially young actors,” he stated. “Working with legends here, you know, and allowing them to just be free to say what they want and respond how they want to respond is pretty, pretty amazing.”

Imperioli additionally recalled a second when he was injured whereas filming the scene the place he’s shot and killed by Tommy, performed by Joe Pesci.

“I’m supposed to go flying back into the bar and hit the ground with three bullet holes,” he stated. “They have a stunt double. I said, no, I want to do my own stunt.”

However when he hit the bar, the glass he was holding shattered, slicing open two of his fingers. “I look up and I see Robert De Niro looking down at me,” he recalled. The harm was “pretty bad.”

A manufacturing assistant drove Imperioli to the hospital – the place, seeing the faux blood and pretend bullet holes on his chest, nurses thought he was severely injured.

“Three bullet holes in my chest and it’s Queens, New York. They think I’m about to die,” he stated. He tried to elucidate he was filming a film however “they think I’m delirious, talking about Robert De Niro.”

“So, they put me on a stretcher, wheel me into trauma, and I’m telling them what’s happening. They won’t listen to me.”

“Finally, they start going into my shirt and see all the squibbing, the wires,” that are linked to the packs of faux blood. “I said, I told you, I’m doing a movie. I cut my fingers.”

It wasn’t till two hours later that employees stitched up his wound and despatched him again to set, the place they filmed three extra takes of the loss of life scene.

Imperioli stated he centered on working and didn’t “engage in a lot of chitchat” with the older actors on “Goodfellas.”

“The last thing I wanted to do was talk to them about acting, because I knew that’s not what they wanted to hear.”

However he did make a suggestion for the movie that “really took a lot of balls,” he stated. “I just kind of trusted my instincts, because of Marty, because he made me feel that way.”

He requested the props supervisor to permit him to reset the poker desk the place the mobsters are playing. His character, Spider, acted as their “errand boy,” ferrying drinks and cleansing ashtrays. Imperioli’s concept was to maneuver the bottles in order that he may face the mobsters whereas he made their drinks as an alternative of going through away, so he may higher monitor who wanted refills.

Making that type of suggestion is “something an actor really would never do,” Imperioli stated. “Because first of all, it’s a union job. And you don’t mess with union workers, right? Or you really might get shot.”

Moreover, “the props are very specific,” he stated. “They have these continuity issues, depending on how they’re moving the camera around, and everything’s got to be the same.”

However Scorsese preferred the thought – they usually moved the bottles.

“When I think about it now, I’m like, I would never probably even think of doing that now because I just assume that the prop guy is going to do it right. I don’t need to do that,” Imperioli stated.

“But there was something instinctual. And Marty made you feel like he wanted you to really live this.”