BIG MAN’S BIG SCREEN CAREER
Like his Star Wars stablemate Samuel L Jackson, Neeson exudes a form of vintage cool. But whilst Jackson at 65 has given up much of the physical stuff Neeson can still be found thrashing around a movie set. Mangling bad guys has become a late career high point.
On Taken and its sequel he single-handedly demolished an army of human traffickers. In NonStop the action is staggered but no less intense – such as his full-on scrap in an aircraft toilet. It can’t have been easy for the big man from Ballymena.
“No, it wasn’t and to add to the problem the other guy was quite big too!” he laughs.
“It was quite intense. They had me bash up against a fake mirror that shatters during the bathroom fight.
“You’re not aware of being hurt at the time, because the adrenaline kicks in, but you do see a bruise of two later and think, ‘How did I get that?’
“But it’s all good fun and there are great stunt guys for all the really difficult stuff. I’ve got a great stunt guy.
“We also did a great fight scene with some of the passengers who attacked me in the movie because they think I’m the hijacker.”
In Non-Stop Neeson is partnered by Julianne Moore and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery.
He last worked with Moore in Atom Egoyan’s 2009 sex drama Chloe. In at least some people’s minds that’s the kind of work he should be doing.
But Taken, Unknown, Non-Stop and their ilk have given Neeson a new lease of professional life and an entirely new audience. And there’s a lot to be said for that.