Liam Neeson is known for his numerous dramatic roles in films like Schindler’s List, Rob Roy, Kinsey. However, he’s also become equally known for his action roles in films like Darkman, Taken, Batman Begins, and of course, Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
The 58 year-old Irishman’s latest action role is as John “Hannibal” Smith in the film adaptation of the iconic 1980’s TV series The A-Team. Neeson first discussed what motivated
“Well, I was broke,” Liam says with a laugh, “I was just very deeply chuffed that I’d be considered for it. I did this film, Taken, that’s given me a whole new lease on life at the age of 58. So it was great to flex those different muscles if you know what I mean. When I met with Joe, I loved him. I thought the script was very, very clever and quite intricate. It was a no brainer for me.”
Liam was asked whether he had to sign on for potential sequels.
“Twelve,” Neeson simply replies, with a laugh.
We asked Neeson if he was familiar with the original TV series.
“It was very, very popular [in Ireland],” Liam says, “It wasn’t my cup of tea to be honest. I was in my 20s and I was in professional theater so it wasn’t. My nieces and nephews were crazy about it. It was hugely successful and popular and still is in reruns.”
Liam says doing the film was a looser and more fun experience for him.
“It was,” Neeson enthuses, “It was just great to be in it with these boys. I mean he was Hannibal. He was the real guy.”
Neeson also enthuses that he deeply enjoyed working with co-stars Bradley Cooper, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, and Sharlto Copley was instantaneous during shooting.
“We got along with each other and I think obviously there’s a lot of that hoping that it will work when the camera starts rolling and it did,” Liam says, “It was just an ease and a generosity between us and something clicked. We all liked each other and liked being with each other and looked forward to going to work every day. We stayed for 4 nights and we had barbecues. It was as simple as that and as complex as that too.”
“These guys know no fear and that’s really interesting,” he adds, “I mean, I’m scared when I wake up in the morning. Every day is a tale but I won’t get into that. It’s interesting the scenes these guys do. It’s like they actually doâ€¦they are not scared and that’s an amazing quality I think. I’d love to have that quality in real life.
We asked Liam if he was comfortable doing the many stunts and fight sequences he does as Hannibal in the film.
“I think so,” he says, “I’m fairly comfortable in fight sequences and stuff like that. I’ve done a few of them. I’m comfortable with that sort of stuff as long as I’m reasonably fit, and it’s fun to do actually. I’m like a kid in a toy shop doing that stuff.
However, all the stuntwork and fighting was not without some reminder that Neeson is not exactly a spring chicken these days.
“I tore my rotator cuff in the first week just bursting through the van on the opening sequence coming to save Bradley’s character,” Liam recalls, “So I had a dead arm for like 3 months. It was awfully painful. But the guys rallied around. I don’t think you’d notice.”