Veteran actor Liam Neeson has been a standard lead for many an action movie over the past few decades. He has also taken on many a variation of the action genre far beyond his Northern Irish background, as in playing “Michael Collins” in 1996. Neeson has been a Nazi German industrialist with a conscience (“Schindler’s List,” 1993), a Jedi Master (“Star Wars Episode I,” 1999), a comic-book super-villain (“Batman Begins,” 2005), a papa wolf ex-covert agent (“Taken,” 2008-14) and even a Messianic Lion (“Chronicles of Narnia,” 2005-10). But nothing lasts forever, and a nearly 70-year-old Neeson is now contemplating action-movie retirement, and future role directions.
This was revealed in an interview with Liam Neeson by Entertainment Tonight last week. While discussing the actor’s latest upcoming action film “The Marksman,” Neeson remarked that he is seeing his days as an action star engaged in shootouts, beat-downs and saber-duels to be nearly over. The primary reason he gives is his age; says Liam, “I’m 68 and a half. 69 this year. There’s a couple more I’m going to do this year — hopefully, COVID allowing us — there’s a couple in the pipeline and, then I think that will probably be it.”
“The Marksman,” which premiered January 15, stars Neeson as a former US Marine owning an Arizona ranch near the Mexican border, who finds himself the reluctant guardian of a Mexican boy fleeing the cartel, in a cross-country chase to his living relatives in Chicago. The character and plotline is typical of the sort that Liam has been associated with in this period of his career. But even then, the longtime actor has also shown chops in non-action genres. “Schindler’s List” was dramatic, and in 2014 he mixed his gritty style with humor in Universal’s “A Million Ways to Die in The West” with Seth MacFarlane.
Speaking of MacFarlane, according to PEOPLE.com he apparently has discussed a possible project with Liam Neeson that might open new stomping grounds for him, after bidding goodbye to physically-demanding action movies. Neeson claims that MacFarlane and Paramount Pictures are looking at the possibility of reviving the “Naked Gun” films, based on the short-lived slapstick action-comedy TV series “Police Squad!” which starred the late Leslie Nielsen. One can point out similar deadpan dialogue delivery between the two actors that could translate for some epic comedy. And as Liam himself sees it, “It’ll either finish my career or bring it in another direction. I honestly don’t know.”
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