Barbara De Fina (executive producer): I don't remember there being a lot of choices about who could play Henry Hill. There weren't a lot of actors who could pull it off. He had to do terrible things, and yet you had to somehow care about him. But Ray [Liotta] wasn't a big star.
Irwin Winkler (producer): Tom Cruise was discussed....
De Fina: Madonna seemed to be in the mix [for the role of Henry's wife, Karen]. I remember that we went to see her in the play Speed-the-Plow. Marty said hello to her afterwards. There was definitely somebody somewhere wanting to cast her. Can you imagine? Tom Cruise and Madonna? But Marty [Scorsese] can get a performance out of almost anyone.
--GQ interviews on the casting of Goodfellas