NEW YORK — Ray Liotta has been named Chairman of the Board of “The Rat Pack,” landing the lead role of Frank Sinatra in the HBO film to shoot in February, sources said.
Coming off a strong performance alongside Sly Stallone in the James Mangold-directed “Copland,” Liotta will play Sinatra in the Rob Cohen-directed film about the days when the Pack — which included Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Peter Lawford — was considered the coolest group in Hollywood. The script was written by Kario Salem, who just did the celebrated HBO pic “Don King: Only in America,” and is being produced by Neal Moritz and Rob Fried.
HBO has been on a roll getting feature talent for its films, with Terry George directing Bill Paxton and Amy Madigan in “A Bright Shining Lie” and Barry Levinson signing on to direct an adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Assassins.”
HBO Pictures, under John Matoian, is shooting for a star cast for “Pack.” Though no other deals have been sealed, the payweb’s courting Don Cheadle — who starred in the Eriq LaSalle-directed HBO film “Rebound” — to play Davis. Also on its wish list is Chazz Palminteri for Dean Martin, though his schedule might not allow it, and “My Best Friend’s Wedding” star Rupert Everett, whom HBO wants to play the young Lawford.
Liotta is repped by ICM’s Ben Press, Toni Howard and Risa Shapiro.