By Karen Posada
Liam Neeson is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood and a terrific actor, so I was thrilled to get a chance to get to meet the legend. His next movie the action, crime, drama ‘Taken 2’ comes out on October 5th and surely his fan base as well as those that enjoyed ‘Taken’ are excited to see what the sequel has to offer. This second part directed by Olivier Megaton takes place in Istanbul, where retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) who raised hell in Paris to save his daughter, finds himself finishing off an assignment. His daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and ex wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) go to join him for a getaway, but little do they know that they will fall prey to the revenge that Murad (Rade Serbedzija) has planned for killing most of the Albanian mob his son belonged to.
Since ‘Taken’ this man has been very busy and this year alone he’s been in several box office movies that have been more hits than misses, such as: ‘The Grey’, ‘The Wrath of the Titans’, ‘Battleship’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. In the interview I got to ask him about what started it all ‘Taken’ and how the public reacted to it, as well as what the need was to make ‘Taken 2’ and if there will be a 3rd.
ShowBizCafe.com: What do you think made ‘Taken’ such a hit? What resonated with people about the film?
Liam Neeson: I think the film is a fantastic compact, little punchy European thriller. It opened reasonably well in France and it opened amazingly well in South Korea. So, then after South Korea I got a call from my nephews in Ireland and England and said “Hi Uncle Liam, saw the movie”, I said “what movie”, they said “ahh Taken”; I said “you couldn’t have seen ‘Taken’, it just opened in South Korea”; their response: “we were able to download it”. So, I thought “F*ck! That’s the end of that movie.” Then Fox took it Jan of 2009. Did this brilliant PR job and [the rest is history].
– [What resonated with people is that] we all belong to families, we know how important families are, we are all parents, myself included. You will do anything for your kids. That tapped into something in people. I also think; my own little theory you can agree with it or not, [in] 2008-2009 the world was turned down financially, our so-called leaders and pillars of the community were shafting us, let’s face it. And [there were] huge criminal acts with vast amounts of our money and I think people felt vulnerable and nervous and a little scared. When people are feeling like that they want entertainment and they went to see ‘Taken’ and saw a guy who’s not going to call a figure of authority to help him; he’s gonna f*cking do something about it himself. I think people got a real guilty pleasure out of that, so I think that added to the success.
SBC: After making a movie like this one and ‘Taken 2,’ are you a more cautious traveler, especially with your children?
LN: Absolutely the opposite. Well I’ve had so many people come up to me and it’s sad, they say: “I saw your movie and made my daughter watch it or my son, because stuff can happen.” I said, “you know that’s the trouble with this country”, I’m sorry to say that, I’m an American citizen myself, but the percentage of Americans that have passports it’s something like 15 percent. Kids have to go out there and explore the world and explore different cultures, you know. It pains me to say that to people that stop me and they are totally complementing me about the film, but I say you [have to] let your children [go] out there and explore the world.
SBC: What do you think about ‘Taken 2’, I mean most people think there’s no need for a sequel? What was it like to get back into the “Bryan Mills” character emotionally and physically and what was it like to shoot in Istanbul?
LN: I agree, but I think Olivier didn’t set out to make a sequel. I think it stands on its own as a piece of entertainment, as an action movie without seeing the first one. But it’s a great way to start the movie [with these guys that want revenge], it’s like these guys that I dispense with in the first one, they have uncles and brothers too. It’s cool to see Rade a beautiful Croatian actor, who is a grieving father whose son I killed in the most horrendous way. So, it sets the movie up nicely.
-[Getting back into character] emotionally there was no problem because Maggie, and Famke to a lesser stent, and myself only shot this five years ago. We became very close, I regard her as a daughter; even though I saw her yesterday and had incestuous thoughts, she looked absolutely stunning *laughs*. [So], it was very easy to connect again. Physically, we tried to do stuff that wasn’t superhuman. I wanted to show a guy that, you know I’m 60, he gets tired when he runs, all this stuff is getting harder to do and I think we showed that in the last fight in the film, where we are slipping and sliding all over the place.
– You have to see Istanbul it was a beautiful place. We were shooting in this inner city that thousands of years old [and has] streets as wide as this room (small) and we have Mercedes Benz car chases up and down and the merchants in either side of the street were like “you do your movie, but I’m going to keep my shop open”, so we had costumers crossing the street all the time. They weren’t extras, you know. We are trying to shoot these chase scenes and there’s a guy coming down with a bag of flour or something like that. We decided to add it to the film. There’s no CGI just the real deal.
SBC: Do you think the story of ‘Taken’ is over? What are you working on next?
LN: I think so, unless Maggie takes over and every so often calls me for advice.
-I’m doing a Paul Haggis film to come out in . It’s kind of romantic, a wonderful story. I have a couple of bed scenes with Olivia Wilde, which is kind of worrying me.
To see more of Liam, click here: TAKEN 2.