Despite being one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actors there’s a reason why we’ve hardly seen Joe Pesci on our TV screens.
The films that this man has been in read like a ‘best ever…’ list that would make any actor in any era a tad envious.
His ability to go from lovable goofball (Leo in the Lethal Weapon series) to unhinged mobster (Tommy in Goodfellas) is nothing short of amazing. Hell we even love Lethal Weapon 4.
However the charismatic actor has hardly been in major film since 1998’s Lethal Weapon 4, limiting his on screen presence to two fairly unknown films in 2006 (The Good Shepherd) and 2010 (Love Ranch) and some voice acting work in 2015 (A Warrior’s Tail).
Now YouTube channel Looper, who previously told us why Christopher Mintz-Plasse isn’t on the big screen anymore, have given us a few reasons as to why don’t see the Oscar winning actor in big movies anymore.
Part of this is to do with early retirement, when is his career was seemingly at it’s highest Pesci announced that he’d only be working as an actor part-time. Just like Mintz-Plasse, his first real love is music, but unlike McLovin – and many other actors and actresses in ‘LA-LA Land’ – who was an actor then a musician, Pesci started his career out as a guitar player.
In the 60s he was a member of the band Joey D And The Starliters, a position which he later left for a little-known guitarist called Jimi Hendrix, maybe you’ve heard of him.
He called time in 1999 in a bid to reignite his music career, he even dropped an album called Vincent Lagurdia Gambini Sings Just For You which was based on his character in My Cousin Vinny.
He also seems to enjoy keeping a low profile these days, only to occasionally pop up in roles for his friends. Take for example the aforementioned The Good Shepherd, it was Robert De Niro’s directorial debut (where he also starred) and Pesci was more than happy to come out of retirement for his old friend, if only to make a surprise guest appearance.
There could be a number of reasons for his lack of interest in acting this, but one could point to the fact that the roles he was being offered just didn’t match up to what he was doing prior.
Remember this is a man who was killing it in Martin Scorsese classics like Raging Bull and Goodfellas – if you need anymore proof that he just didn’t give a shit about his acting career, check out his Oscar acceptance speech.
Speaking to the New York Times in 1992 Pesci said:
I’d love to star in movies, but I only want to have good roles. It doesn’t help to get starring roles in something that’s no good. I eman, that will just kill you.
Sometime around 2011 he was actually meant to be in a film about the Gambino crime family, with John Travolta starring as the infamous John Gotti. Pesci would have taken on the role of his ‘friend and personal enforcer’ Angelo Ruggiero. Ever the workhorse actor that he is, he gained 30 lbs for the role, however his role got dropped from a major supporting role to a minor one, and with a reduced salary.
Knowing his colourful persona we can bet that Joe Pesci gave the executive producers and director a piece of his mind before the film was ultimately canned.
However fans of the diminutive actor shouldn’t feel too down as he’s set to make a return in Martin Scoresse-led Netflix film The Irishman starring De Niro, Al Pacnio and Harvey Keitel.