Category: Archive

‘Taken’ in by Liam Neeson

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

“”I had a great fight choreographer,” the 56-year-old film star told the Irish Echo in New York recently. “The style of fighting is called Kapour; it’s an amalgam of various martial arts styles. I learned a very, very basic set of moves and then, after all the fights were choreographed, it was just a matter of rehearsing them and re-rehearsing them so that they became second nature to us when we shot them.”
No stranger to action pictures, the star of “Michael Collins,” “Rob Roy,” “Kinsey,” “Gangs of New York,” “Love, Actually” and “Seraphim Falls” admitted that “Taken” was a new experience for him, because its director Pierre Morel expected such a high level of realism in sequences in which his actors come to blows.
“It was tough, because I’m from the school where you’re in a screen fight and you avoid the face if the camera is there,” said Neeson. But in France, where the film was shot, “You’re expected to make contact. I don’t mean 100 percent, but you’re expected to make contact and I found it hard to train my body to do that,” Neeson explained, emphasizing there were no serious injuries sustained on the set. “It is very physical and it looks really violent, but these guys were just fantastic.”
The husband of actress Natasha Richardson and the father of two boys, aged 12 and 13, Neeson admitted he might be a more protective parent in real life if he had a daughter like his character does in the movie.
” I think I’d be a lot more protective,” the actor said. “But my wife and I both plan to, when our kids are 18, show them the door and tell them: ‘There’s a big, wide world out there. Go out and see some of it.'”
Neeson and Richardson believe that broad life experience is vital to a person’s development.
“I think kids — I’ll put my foot in it and say, in this country — are too over-protected,” said the actor. “I think if they traveled a bit more and saw a little bit more of the world, there would be a little more tolerance of other nations and countries and cultures.”
Asked if he left home at 18, the one-time forklift operator for Guinness and former amateur boxer replied, “I did in a very limited way. I left Ballymena and traveled down to Dublin and made it over to England. I kept fairly close to home. As much as I romantically would loved to have hitchhiked around Europe, I was a late bloomer. I didn’t do that until quite late.
“Like last year,” he added with a laugh.
Neeson will also be seen this month sharing the screen with his fellow Northern Irish actor James Nesbitt in the movie “Five Minutes of Heaven,” which is screening at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
A synopsis posted on the festival’s Web site describes “Heaven” as a film that “tracks the lives of two men from the same town, but different sides of the Irish political divide.”
“One man, Alistair (Neeson) is a killer; the other, Joe (Nesbitt) is the brother of the man he killed,” the description continues. “One feels he dare not ask for forgiveness; the other feels incapable of giving it.”
Neeson, an A-list actor in high demand, said he still hopes to play former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in a long-delayed, big-screen drama to be helmed by his “Schindler’s List” director Steven Spielberg.
“It’s in the works,” Neeson maintained. “[Spielberg] asked me four years ago, would I do it. I said, ‘Let me think about it.’ And I did and I said: ‘I’ve thought about it. Yes.'”
The actor admits that, thanks to the time he has spent researching the 16th president, he is practically an expert on Abraham Lincoln at this point.
“But, we’ll not go down there because there’s over 2,000 books written on him,” he pointed out. “There’s one coming out at the moment, every month, this being his bicentennial this year. … It’s crying out to be told — what went into the formation of the United States. It’s an extraordinary story. But it’s in the works and [Spielberg] will do it, I’m sure, when he’s ready. I mean, he developed ‘Schindler’s List’ for 10 years.”
“Taken,” co-starring Maggie Grace and Famke Janssen, and written and produced by Luc Besson, opens nationwide Jan. 30.

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