Oscar-nominated actor and late-blooming star of shoot-em-up revenge thrillers Liam Neeson has announced that he is retiring from action movies. Neeson is currently garnering Oscar buzz for his very serious, non-action-star role as the real-life Deep Throat in the drama Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House.
Having already established himself as a commanding Hollywood lead through roles in Rob Roy, Schindler's List and Michael Collins, Neeson took a mid-career turn into movies that can kindly be characterized as action schlock, beginning in 2008 with the revenge thriller Taken. After starring in a string of movies casting him as a skilled killer pitted against various enemies, Neeson has become somewhat typecast, though he continues to be sought for legitimate roles in prestige productions.
Speaking to reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival where he's showing his Mark Felt movie, Neeson said he's ready to say goodbye to his action film persona once-and-for-all. Calling his action career a "pure accident," Neeson explained why he's decided it's time to stop appearing in movies like Taken (via Sky News):
"They're still throwing serious money at me to do that stuff. I'm like: 'Guy's I'm sixty-f******-five.' Audiences are eventually going to go: 'Come on.'"
Neeson was already a seasoned actor, known for his deep voice and commanding presence, when he broke through as an A-list lead in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning holocaust drama Schindler's List. Neeson would go on to score more roles in prestige productions, snagging Golden Globe nominations for Kinsey and Michael Collins, while sprinkling in the occasional paycheck blockbuster role in films like Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and Batman Begins.
The real action turn happened for Neeson in 2008 when he starred as Bryan Mills, the retired spy with the very particular set of skills, in the revenge movie Taken. With his growling delivery and physical command contrasted against a natural warmth, Neeson perfectly embodied the loving family man forced to call upon his cold-blooded instincts in order to protect his loved ones from vicious terrorists. Taken would gross $226 million worldwide, launching a franchise and re-branding Neeson as an action star in the Bruce Willis mold.
Neeson whole-heartedly embraced his action star opportunity, appearing in two more Taken films as well as a slew of similarly-themed vehicles like Non-Stop, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Unknown and Run All Night. Neeson has also taken more than his share of roles both supporting and lead in huge Hollywood popcorn movies, including Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, Battleship and The A-Team. Though Neeson may not be accepting anymore action roles due to his advancing age (someone get a memo to Harrison Ford), he still has a couple final action movies in the can and ready for release in 2018, including the January movie The Commuter and the straight-ahead Neeson-esque revenge thriller Hard Powder.
Source: Sky News
- The Commuter (2018) release date: Jan 12, 2018
- Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017) release date: Sep 29, 2017