How Did Good Fellas Martin Scorsese and Ray Liotta End up in an Indie Film?

Kara Warner
Senior Reporter
Movie Talk
Martin Scorsese and Ray Liotta
Martin Scorsese and Ray Liotta

When it comes to predicting A-list Hollywood talent we’d expect to see make cameos in low budget films, Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese and veteran thespian Ray Liotta would not be the first to come to mind. And yet here they are in a trailer for the new film “Campus Life” from innovative distributor and video-viewing platform JumpView Entertainment.

In the one-minute trailer, we learn that “Campus Life” is about five college students who suddenly realize that all is not what it seems when they start discovering oddities going on around their campus and seek to discover the truth about what is really happening. We see Liotta and Scorsese briefly, long enough to know that they play a bartender and doctor respectively. So how the heck did these A-list cameos come to be?

As it happened, Scorsese and Liotta’s involvement came to be via a set of ideal circumstances: an intriguing script and premise, a hard-working, gregarious production team and casting agent, and help from Scorsese’s daughter Catherine, who was initially involved with the project.

Watch the trailer for 'Campus Life':

Yahoo! Movies reached out to JumpView co-owners and “Campus Life” co-writers Michael Simon and Kenneth Waddell, who had nothing but high praise for their special guest actors.

“You’re talking about two amazing professionals,” said Waddell, who also directed the film. “They were great to work with, incredibly giving especially with new crew members and younger actors, just really in there mixing it up and putting their full 100 percent effort into it.”

Waddell went on to say that while he was anxious to be directing an Oscar-winning director himself, Scorsese put him at ease in just wanting to come in and be an actor.

“It was great. Intimidating but great,” he said. “He came in as an actor, shot the breeze tech-wise about the filmmaking process but didn’t offer his two cents [about the direction of his scenes]. He was just there to be an actor and do his thing.”

Liotta was also there to act, but enjoyed playing around with the material and making everyone laugh.

“Every take was a different performance,” Waddell said of Liotta. “He improvised it every time, around the structure that the script provided, but had the crew in stitches and I later had to find a way to edit it and choose the best take,” he recalled. “He was definitely a lot of fun and kept the other actors on their toes.”

And while Scorsese and Liotta’s cameos are certainly noteworthy, “Campus Life” comes to life via its lead actors Jesse McCartney, Conor Leslie, Hannah Hodson, Alice Kremelberg, Ritesh Rajan and Jack Falahee. Adding to the intrigue about the film is the way in which audiences can view it via the JumpView player. For just $3.99 you can watch “Campus Life” whenever and wherever you want, in or out of sequence, and from any and all the characters’ individual perspectives.

“‘Campus Life’ is a launching pad to show people what it JumpView is all about,” Simon said of introducing audiences to a brand new way of viewing content online.

“We still haven’t tapped the newness and the greatness of the cloud and me-centric way of viewing things,” added Waddell. “That was the inspiration for creating JumpView so it could be a me-centric, user-driven experience.”

Simon and Waddell hope that they will be able to make more original full-length films in the future and eventually feature existing content like studio-produced movies and television shows to play via the JumpView player.

For more information about JumpView and “Campus Life,” visit their website and Facebook page.