Liam Neeson has been cast in the forthcoming romantic drama, Normal People. After making a name for himself in films such as Steven Spielberg's 1993 World War II piece, Schindler's List, Neeson appeared in several big-budget franchise movies including Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Batman Begins, playing Qui-Gon Jinn and Ra's al-Ghul, respectively. More recent years have seen the Irish actor earn a reputation for tough guy secret agent-style roles, thanks to his starring turn in the Taken series, Run All Night, Non-Stop, and The Commuter.
As should be expected in such a varied and illustrious career, Liam Neeson has also appeared in a variety of romantic roles. Turns in Love Actually and Third Person allowed Neeson to showcase a side to his acting repertoire that doesn't get utilized as much as his angry voiced, kneeing-people-in-the-face persona but proved just as critically lauded. Such is the breadth of Neeson's acting range.
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According to Deadline, Neeson has now been cast in Normal People, a film about a long-married couple whose relationship is rocked by a breast cancer diagnosis. Neeson will be playing Tom, the movie's husband, while his spouse, Joan, will be portrayed by Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread). The project is set to begin filming in Belfast this July and will be directed by the duo of Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn, with a script from Owen McCafferty. Brian J. Falconer, David Holmes, and Piers Tempest are producing.
Although romantic drama may be one of Liam Neeson's lesser-explored genres, Normal People may represent a chance for the actor to make another huge impact on the awards scene after a few years of popcorn blockbuster fare. The report notes considerable hype surrounding this movie within the industry and predicts many potential suitors at Cannes next month, where the title will be on the market.
As well as exploring more tender and emotional acting territory, Normal People will also present Neeson with the chance to film in his homeland of Northern Island, with the actor's birthplace of Ballymena not far from the film's location shoot in Belfast. However, this isn't the first time Neeson has explored his Irish heritage on-screen, having taken on the leading role in the Michael Collins biopic in 1996. That particular role earned the actor a Golden Globe nomination and it'll be interesting to see whether his latest venture in Normal People brings similar success, as many are predicting.
Normal People is currently without a release date.