One of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, Irish actor Liam Neeson originally wanted to be a teacher. At 61, Neeson says he is ‘a wee bit embarrassed’ to be an action star, yet he keeps making action films like Taken and Darkman not for the money, but because it helps him avoid wallowing in sadness after the death of his wife, Natasha Richardson. It’s only recently that the actor has begun to talk publicly about Richardson, who died in 2009 in a skiing accident in Canada. Neeson will be seen in Non-Stop, Jaume Collet-Serra’s next – which is about an air marshal who springs into action during a transatlantic flight after receiving a series of text messages that put his fellow passengers at risk. Read on:
Non-Stop has an entire sequence in a plane.
Why is an airplane the perfect setting for a thriller?
It is, isn’t it? Because everybody is locked in together at 30,000 feet up in the air and we can all relate to that. Everybody in the world! Because everybody in the world seems to fly these days, you know.
This film perfectly plays with all our fears. How doesit do that?
Well, for a start unless you’re a physicist, how does that big chunk of metal get up in the air? I kind of know the physics of that, but how does it stay up there? I don’t know. When I went to university, I studied physics and a little bit of mathematics and I still can’t figure it out. So we immediately have a little fear there you know — when we step on to that airplane.
What goes into your action sequences?
I’ve done a little mongrel version of different fight sequence for years, depending on what the action is in the film. In this one, we didn’t want to adopt martial arts. It’s so corny. Whatever physical altercations happened on the airplane we wanted to make them real. I worked quite closely with the special forces guy that trains air marshals. We came up with the fight in the bathroom based on stuff that he was trained to do himself in very close combat situations, like what you would do to disarm someone. We tried to keep that real and exciting, too.
You must have learned a lot of new skills from your movies.
You learn and then you forget about it. It’s like learning a dance — you learn it for the scene or studying for exams. Then the exam’s over and you’ve forgotten half of it. Except for the lightsaber. I know how to handle that.
How do you play into stereotyping with this movie?
I think Jaume Collet-Serra (director) played with that in our own heads, too. There’s the Muslim doctor. You go, “Uh-huh. Yeah, this is interesting.” But it’s not going to be him. It’s not going to be the other African American kid that we think, “Definitely, this guy’s got a real attitude.” So he plays with all that.
Your views on playing the protagonist.
You know it’s an interesting thing, this idea. What makes a hero? What makes somebody suddenly; stand out from the crowd and do something that they never planned on doing. Not for their own glory, not for their own ego but because they just do. I still find that fascinating.
The movie is scheduled to release today.
- Team indulge