Liam Neeson Calls ‘Taken’ An ‘Accident’ That He Thought Would Go Straight To Video

20th Century Fox

Liam Neeson has the ideal career. He gets to fight wolves and beat up bad guys, and also star in prestige projects from Martin Scorsese, the Coen Brothers, and Steve McQueen. He’s been doing that balancing act since the 1990s, when he went from Schindler’s List (he was nominated for an Oscar) to Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (he got murdered by a laser-sword) a few years later, but Neeson solidified himself as one of Hollywood’s go-to action movie stars with Taken, which he now calls an “accident.”

“I never focused on, ‘Oh, I’d love to do action movies.’ It wasn’t really on my periphery,” Neeson confessed to Entertainment Weekly. “I read [it] and just thought, ‘This would be great; just hang out with stuntmen every day and beat guys up.’ I did think it would be straight-to-video, and that was no problem.”

Instead, Taken made over $220 million at the box office and spawned two sequels, a television series, and a memorable Key and Peele sketch:

“I enjoyed doing that first Taken movie so much; I had no idea that it would lead onto other films and other action scripts. They started sending me action scripts and you’d see ‘Leading man, age 37’ crossed out and ‘late 40s, early 50s’ written in instead. I feel very privileged, and a little bit guilty. I’m having fight scenes with guys half my age and I just can’t stop laughing. It’s just so silly on one level and great fun on another.”

For Neeson’s next project, Cold Pursuit (which was originally called Hard Powder, a much better title, imo), he gets to drive a snow-plow and drop a tree through a sunroof. Again, living the dream. “If I can intersperse [a goofy action movie] every now and then with a Ballad of Buster Scruggs or Martin Scorsese’s Silence, you couldn’t ask for a better career than that,” Neeson said. “I know myself. When I have to reach for the walker to go and beat up two guys, I’ll know: ‘No, Liam, the audience is really going to laugh this time.’”

I… would see that?

(Via Entertainment Weekly)