Liam Neeson strolled comfortably into the breezy conference room at the Regent Hotel in Berlin and calmly took command of the room with his silent presence. There were five other journalists in the room to interview him about his new film Taken 2 (2012), and although we were the first interview group of the day, he seemed relaxed and as cool as his character of Bryan Mills in the movie.
When asked what it was like to come back to that role, he responded that it was like “putting on a comfortable coat.” This is quite understandable as it seems that there is quite a lot of natural Liam Neeson in the character of Bryan Mills. He sat relaxed in his chair, leaning back slightly and his voice never rising above a sedate tone, and these character traits are also shown vividly throughout Taken 2 as his character refuses to be ruffled, even when the situation is at its most dire. He admitted that he has a lot in common with his character, excluding the violence.
Despite his feelings about violence, Liam Neeson understood the driving emotions of the antagonist of the film who was filled with revenge and hate. “Yes, I can understand it. I grew up in Northern Ireland of course, and there was a thirty year war. And every day you were reminded of acts of revenge and violence breeding violence. I can empathize with him. He’s a grieving father and that makes him all the more scary. He’s not just a classic movie villain who wants to dominate the world. He’s a guy whose son died, in a very horrible way.”
When asked about how difficult it was to get in shape for the movie, he responded that he enjoyed exercising in general, but he had to do additional training. ”There was obviously a certain amount of physical preparation to be done. I usually work out seven days a week, and I had a bit of fight training with guns and stuff like that.” Despite enjoying his experience filming, he doesn’t see himself as an action star, “I don’t see myself that way. I’ve done 56 films and maybe four were action films.”
He also doesn’t particularly enjoy performing in love scenes either, “They are always a little bit embarrassing. You can imagine it you know. I am doing a movie next month with Olivia Wilde and we’ve got two or three love making scenes. And the director was asking me, ‘so you know Olivia is going to be naked. There’s a shot of her running down the corridor, and she’s naked.’ And I said that’s fine. He was asking, he said, ‘I need you to be naked’, and I said, ‘Dude. I am not showing my fucking Irish ass to anyone, and certainly not on a 35mm camera.’”
He mentioned that he was surprised by the positive reaction to the first film, especially in America, but he acknowledged that it was primarily due to the excellent public relation jobs of Fox Studio and EuropaCorp. Earlier in his career box office numbers were not so important to him, but now with his name over the title, he is more interested. However he recognizes that “you can’t get obsessed with it. The paying public, they make up their own minds.”
Finally, he mentioned that it is doubtful that there will be a third Taken film. However, if there was to be another, he mentioned that he would like to work in the Babelsberg Studios again, because he really enjoyed working there in the past. And he would enjoy working in Bangkok if possible, “it’s a little like Istanbul. Compact and private. All human life is there and it’s very exotic.”