Charlie Day Regrets That Ray Liotta Will Never See Fool's Paradise

Comedian Charlie Day is finally making the transition into directing with his first feature, "Fool's Paradise," a fish-out-of-water story about a mentally ill man (Day) who is suddenly thrust into the spotlight to become an unexpected movie star. In the film, Day's character closely resembles a belligerent method actor who refuses to come out of his trailer, leading his publicist (Ken Jeong) to transform Day into a leading man. 

The star-studded cast also features reunions with Day's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" co-stars including Glenn Howerton and Day's wife, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, and reunites Day with Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis from "Horrible Bosses." The late Ray Liotta also plays a Hollywood producer in one of his final roles, which should be a relief to fans of the actor who assumed "Cocaine Bear" was the last time Liotta would ever appear on screen.   

For his directorial debut, Day couldn't ask for a better group of actors that also includes Kate Beckinsale, Adrien Brody, Edie Falco, and John Malkovich. But according to a new appearance on "Sunday Sitdown" with TODAY's Willie Geist, Day credited Liotta with championing the film during its lengthy post-production project. Day recalled: 

"Ray would text me every three months like, 'Hey, man, what's going on with that movie we did? When is it getting out?' And I would say, 'Ray, I'm so sorry. I'm stuck back doing 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.' I have to deliver this season and as soon as I wrap, I'm going to get back into the editing room, so everything's on hold.'" 

The legendary actor, who made a name for himself starring in Martin Scorsese's gangster classic "Goodfellas," apparently loved the film and was excited to get "Fools Paradise" out into the world. Sadly, that didn't happen in time. 

One more great performance by Liotta?

For the time that Liotta was granted during his lifetime and career, he managed to commit some incredible performances to celluloid, from Jonathan Demme's "Something Wild" to Noah Baumbach's "Marriage Story." Judging by the trailer for "Fool's Paradise" and the general premise, the film feels like a throwback to classic Hollywood stories about the ins and outs of the business. Liotta as an overzealous film producer sounds like a role that could potentially go down as one of his best. Day certainly seems to think so. "He delivers a performance that is, in my mind ... I won't say it's 'Goodfellas' good, but it's Ray Liotta good. It's up to his standards of what he can do well," he gushed. 

If Liotta's performance in "Fool's Paradise" does wind up being one of his best roles, Day and the rest of the cast and crew will have to accept all the accolades on his behalf. "My biggest regret is that Ray is not going to get to see the audience see him," Day told Geist on "Sunday Sitdown." "He was just a really driven, committed, serious-about-his-craft guy, and I feel lucky he's in the movie," added Day. 

For a story centered around Day becoming an accidental movie star, having a bonafide acting legend like Liotta was something Day cherished during his first experience behind the camera. "I just want to share it," he said. "It's like a child. I'm super-proud of it. I'm ready for it to go out in the world. And if people don't like the child, well, you know, they can suck it."

"Fools Paradise" is set to be released on May 12.