Reality check. Liam Neeson has been showing off his very particular set of skills on the big screen for years — but the end of his action movie days might finally be in sight.
While sitting down with Entertainment Tonight on Thursday, January 14, the Irish actor revealed that he plans on taking a step back from rigorous roles in the near future. “I’m 68 and a half. 69 this year,” Neeson said. “There’s a couple more I’m going to do this year — hopefully, COVID allowing us — there’s a couple in the pipeline and, then I think that will probably be it.”
The Oscar winner previously starred alongside Christian Bale in Batman Begins (2006) and duked it out with worthy foes in the Taken trilogy, which hit theaters in 2008, 2012 and 2014. In his latest film, The Marksman, Neeson portrays a former Marine whose peaceful life in Arizona is disrupted when he tries to protect a young boy on the run from a dangerous cartel.
Though the non-stop action is starting to take its toll, the Star Wars actor still has a soft spot for the genre. “I love doing them,” he said on Thursday. “I love beating up guys half my age.”
While the Schindler’s List star already had an impressive list of credits before becoming the go-to Hollywood heavy hitter he is now, the Taken franchise brought him a new phase of success. Two years after Taken 3 premiered, Neeson shut down any possibility of another installment in the action-packed series.
“There’s only so many times your daughter can be taken,” he joked during a 2016 interview on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. “Actually if we do have another it will be, ‘Please, can you take my daughter?’”
Neeson’s Taken character, an ex-CIA operative, delivers a handful of now-iconic monologues warning his daughter’s kidnappers about their fate if they don’t return her to safety. Since the series took off, fans have often repeated those same threatening lines back to the Lego Movie star — even in public restrooms.
“I was standing there doing my business and this other man was there doing his business, and you know, men we don’t look at each other, you do your business, studying the tile,” Neeson recalled to host Stephen Colbert in 2016. “I heard this guy quoting the line from Taken: ‘I will find you.’ I thought, ‘Here we go.’”
Despite his tentative plans for retirement, comic book fans are campaigning for Neeson to join the Wonder Woman universe as Zeus, whom he portrayed in 2010’s Clash of the Titans. “I’m very flattered!” Neeson said of the petition on Thursday. “I wasn’t aware that the ancient Greek gods appeared in Wonder Woman. … I’ll call my agent!”
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