Run All Night reunites Liam Neeson with his Unknown and Non-Stop director Jaume Collet-Serra for another high-concept action film - this time set in the urban jungle of NYC, during one incredibly long chase, over one incredibly violent night.
Neeson plays ex-hit man Jimmy Conlon, who spends his days under the wing of his (literal) partner in crime, Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris), getting drunk and trying to forget all the sins of the past. Things take a sharp turn towards Shakespearian tragedy when Jimmy's estranged son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) takes an ill-fated chauffeur gig that leaves him witness to a murder perpetrated by Danny (Boyd Holbrook), Shawn's reckless and violent son.
When Danny comes looking to take Mike out of the picture, Jimmy is forced to do the unthinkable and kill his best friend's only son. That decision puts two of the city's veteran criminals on a collision course that will leave a lot of blood staining streets all over the city before the night is done.
We attended the NYC Junket for Run All Night, where we got to talk with star Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra about - among other things - how their work together has in part helped to inspire a new action movie sub-genre with older leading men, now dubbed "Geriaction" films. After the example set by Neeson's breakout in the Taken franchise (and subsequent work with Collet-Serra), actor Sean Penn will follow suit in 2015 with The Gunman, directed by Taken helmer Pierre Morel.
Here's what Neeson and Collet-Serra had to say about Run All Night further promoting a cinematic trend they arguably helped foster - and what co-star Ed Harris had to say about the emerging trend:
Sean Penn this week, who is 55, and has worked with the director of “Taken” now on a movie, referred to these movies as "geriaction" films. It sort of touches on something. I always wondered about that about Liam Neeson, because he’s always been physically imposing. And yet, he wasn’t doing these movies when he was in his 30’s. all of a sudden, now, when he’s in his 60’s…
Jaume: When he was in his 30’s, other people were in their 30’s and doing those movies. I think he was doing serious…I mean he wasn’t in “Diehard”. Somebody else was in “Diehard”. I’m sure he would have liked…
But if you look at the big action stars, they are all older gentlemen—mature, big…Is there some social thing that makes it work?
Jaume: No. I think in westerns actors were…they did westerns until their 60’s. so this is just a modern version of that. I don’t think anybody, just because he’s a good actor, now can transition into these kinds of movies. I wish I would be in shape like Liam and do the things that he does. I think that he is a wonderful actor. He likes these kinds of movies. He enjoys doing all the action and working very closely with choreographing the fights and doing all that. and I think people like it because they see that love that he brings to the movies.
I think that Liam’s movies are Liam’s movies. But I don’t think that just about anybody can do them. Just because you have been a good actor, generally you can transition just become Liam can do it. Because I see what goes behind the scenes. And I think he is very special. He has a very special set of skills.
Since “Taken”, he’s become an action person, I mean movie after movie. Does it become a challenge after a while to present that in a unique way?
Jaume: No. because I don’t watch other movies. [laughs]
Your own [movies], then. I mean you contributed to that.
Jaume: Yeah, yeah. But I don’t watch my own movies. I don’t sit and watch like, “Oh, here’s what we did. Let me not repeat it…” I’m trying to be honest with you, like, “OK. So here it is. New York. Let’s do it.” What can New York give me and I bring back in the characters and try to…like a car chase, having the bad guy chase the cops, that was something that was really interesting and trying to figure that out.
Liam: Well, I mean [Brad Ingelsby's] script is very, very rich. It seemed to be a throwback to films I certainly grew up with, ‘60s, ‘70s.
Liam: I mean there’s a whole series of Sidney Lumet films that are fantastic, where he dealt with the police. What’s the one with Nick Nolte? I was just thinking about it in my last interview, Sidney Lumet made it. Fuck. Timothy Hutton, I think, and Nick Nolte is a big corrupt policeman.
I can’t remember the title… [Ed Note: it's a 1990 film is called "Q&A"]
Liam: This script has that flavor to it.
For his part, Neeson's co-star (and fellow iconic actor) Ed Harris was fully open to more aging male actors getting a shot a things like big action franchises - a shot that Harris would clearly welcome:
Ed: Yeah. They can send [those scripts] to me, please. You know what I’m saying. I wouldn’t mind. I’ve never been that kind of…I’ve never had that kind of career. The biggest roles I’ve had I’ve created myself, basically—“Pollock”, “Appaloosa”, leading roles in films... You know. So, it’s different. I’m just riding on this dude’s coattails in this one, man. I’ll join the f*cking train.
Ed: I’ll be happy to.
Run All Night will be in theaters everywhere on Friday, March 13th.