When Liam Neeson starred in 2009s wildly successful action film Taken, he embarked on a whole new phase of his career. That movie and its subsequent follow-ups made Neeson one of the biggest action stars of our generation. Neeson had previously starred in more dramatic films like 1993s Schindler’s List and 2004s Kinsey.
Despite experiencing one of the most prolific second-winds in Hollywood history, Neeson has just come forward and announced that he’s retiring from the action genre of films. During a candid interview with Entertainment Tonight, Neeson explained that he’ll be turning 69 this year, and although he’s still involved In a couple of action films that are still in the works after production wraps up on those, he’ll be taking a step back from the genre.
Liam’s most recent film. The Marksman, pits Neeson as an ex-marine against a legion of drug cartel assassins as he defends a young Mexican boy.. Even though Neeson is ready to venture away from what he calls his ‘very particular set of skills’, he admits that he’ll miss the excitement of starring in action films.
“I love beating up guys half my age.” Neeson disclosed but admitted that all of those action films were starting to take a toll on him.
Neeson shared with ET that while on the set of his upcoming film Blacklight, there was a moment when he was halfway through filming a fight scene with a young actor when he had to take a break. He was winded and needed several minutes to recover, but his spry co-star was unfazed. Neeson asked him how old he was and the young man revealed that he was 25.
“That’s the age of my oldest son!” Neeson exclaimed!
And with that, he made the realization that he no longer was the spring chicken that he once was. Time had finally started to catch up with him.
Granted, this isn’t the first time that we’ve heard Neeson talk about retiring from the action film genre. Back in 2015, he told reporters that he only intended to make action films for another year or two. He backpedaled from that statement in 2017, however, when he was quoted as saying that he would be doing action movies until he’s dead and buried in the ground.
So who knows, maybe Neeson will be taking kicking butt and taking names well into his 80s, but for now, it looks like his action film days are numbered. Regardless of what his future holds, no one can deny that Neeson has had an extraordinary career. His story is one that’s worth taking a closer look at. Stay tuned to discover some of his biggest secrets.
He An Avid Fisherman
Neeson is a huge fan of the great outdoors. He’s also a fly-fishing aficionado of sorts. He loves getting into the water and snagging a trout or two, but for him, fishing isn’t just a hobby. To Liam, it’s his therapy. He’s spoken at length of the deep sense of inner calm that he feels when he’s out in the water.
Irish Talk Show Host, Ryan Tubridy, once hooked Neeson up with a box of handcrafted flies just so that he would have a few handy next time he went fishing. That might seem like an odd gift until you realize that Neeson had previously disclosed to Tubridy on his show that he once had to use his own hair as a fly when he forgot to bring his own.
Neeson Used To Be A Boxer
Neeson’s experience as a boxer in his younger years no doubt gave him an upper-hand when he became an action film star later on in life. He started competing in the sport when he was a teenager. In fact, he even broke his nose in the ring when he was 15.
Apparently, he had a knack for the hands-on contact sport. At one point, Neeson even won the Irish Youth Boxing championship. He quit Boxing after one particularly unsettling incident left him spooked. After one of his fights, he blacked out after leaving the ring. It was such a jarring experience that he left the boxing world forever.
He Had A Terribly Embarrassing Moment While Auditioning For The Princess Bride
Everyone has a few unflattering moments in their careers that they would rather forget about if they could. Neeson is no different. Very early on in his career, Liam went to an audition for the role of Fezzik the Giant in The Princess Bride.
When he showed up to the audition, Rob Reiner greeted him with a look of utter disgust. The director was under the impression that Neeson was taller than he actually was. At 6′ 4”, he was much too ‘short’ for the part. He was instantly rejected and the role was given to Andre the Giant instead.
Ian Paisley Encouraged Him To Become An Actor
In case you didn’t know, Liam Neeson was born and raised in Northern Ireland. He grew up in a time when Ireland was bitterly divided between two ideological factions, the pro-United Kingdom Unionist and the pro-Irish independence Republicans.
When he was young, Northern Irish minister Ian Paisley would often make speeches in his region. Neeson was deeply moved by Paisley’s conviction and energy. After attending a church service where he was preaching, he realized that he wanted to pursue a career as an actor.
Neeson then started acting in school plays and taking drama classes whenever he could. Once he had caught the ‘acting bug’ he would never be able to shake it. It became a part of who he was.
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And stay tuned to find out what Liam Neeson’s biggest fear is. It might be hard to imagine, but there is one thing in particular that makes him go weak at the knees. But we’ll get to that in a moment….
Neeson Drove A Forklift For the Guinness Beer Company
In the early 1970s, while Neeson was studying physics and computer science at Queens University in Belfast, he did a variety of odd jobs to pay for his schooling. One of these jobs was as a forklift operator for the Guinness beer company.
While he was working there, another driver once told him that he just might wind up being the next Roy Rogers. Neeson didn’t think the comparison to the western star was very fitting but he continued to act in college plays as often as he could anyway.
Neeson Was On Miami Vice
After starring in several stage plays in Ireland in the 70s, Neeson started landing roles in major Hollywood films. Some of his first credits were in films like 1981s Excalibur and 1984s The Bounty. For the latter, he had the opportunity of working with Hollywood heavyweights Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson. In 1986, he starred in The Mission alongside Robert De Niro.
It was Neeson’s connection with De Niro that helped him score a role in a 1986 episode of Miami Vice. De Niro put Neeson in touch with a casting agent named Bonnie Zimmerman who hooked him up with a part as an Irish Resistance Army terrorist named Sean Carroon. for the show
Neeson Chewed His Nephews Out For Illegally Downloading Taken
Neeson’s rebranding of himself as an action star started with 2008s Taken, a gripping thriller written by Robert Mark Kamen, co-creator of The Karate Kid, and directed by Luc Besson, most famous for directing 1994s Leon: The Professional.
Neeson didn’t really know what he was getting into when he auditioned for the part. He was thinking that it would be more of a fun job but failed to anticipate that it would be such a blockbuster hit. At one point, he even considered that the film might go straight to video. Of course, Taken was a huge theatrical hit and spawned two sequels.
Neeson was peeved, however, when he learned that his little nephews had downloaded the film illegally from the internet He was deeply disturbed that they had broken the law. Can you imagine Liam Neeson giving you a stern talking to? That experience must have been unnerving, to say the least.
He Quit Drinking After His Wife, Natasha Richardson, Died
In March of 2009, Neeson’s wife, Natasha, suffered from a major brain injury sustained during a skiing accident. Neeson was on the set of his film Chloe when the accident happened but he immediately departed to be by her side. Sadly, she died just two days later.
At first, Liam dealt with the loss in a very unhealthy way. He relied heavily on alcohol to ease his sorrows during this troubling time. He revealed in a 2014 interview that he was drinking two or three bottles of wine every evening in the months following her death.
Fortunately, he was eventually able to recognize that he was developing a problem and quit drinking alcohol altogether. Neeson has reportedly been sober ever since.
He Lived With Hellen Mirren For Years
Before he married Natasha Richardson in 1994, Neeson dated several high-profile women. One of these lucky ladies was Helen Mirren, whom Neeson met while on the set of Excalibur in 1981. Neeson has since admitted that he was immediately taken to her after their first meeting. The couple eventually ended up moving in with each other and enjoying each other’s company for 4 years.
Unfortunately, their love wasn’t meant to be. Mirren ended up marrying director Taylor Heckford and Neeson moved on from that relationship and briefly dated Barbra Steisand before he met Natasha. Mirren and Neeson remain friends to this day, however. It’s nice to see that there are no hard feelings.
Rumors That He Didn’t Get Along With George Lucas Are Unfounded
Neeson played Qui-Gon Jin in 1999s Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. According to some reports at the time, Neeson and George Lucas had trouble seeing eye to eye. Some even speculated that the two hated each other. Fortunately, Neeson has disputed these claims, saying that there is no truth to them at all.
He’s called the allegations ‘simply not true’ and further asserted that he had no ‘misgivings’ about being in Star Wars. Neeson has said that George Lucas was a pleasure to work with and that was always very clear about what he wanted.
Neeson’s Afraid Of Heights
We all have our Kryptonite. For some it might be spiders, for others, it might be tight dark places, but it doesn’t matter who you are, we all have our unique set of fears. You might not expect it from an action hero like Neeson, but there is one thing in particular that he is terrified of – heights. The actor is extremely acrophobic and even joked once that he gets a bit dizzy when standing on a ‘thick carpet’.
Well, here we are at the end of another facts-packed video. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed learning all about Liam Neeson as much as we have
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