Nov 27 2012

Does Liam Neeson Need an Intervention?

Published by at 11:00 am under Editorials,Movies

“Give me every revenge thriller you’ve got!”

I never, or at least rarely, like seeing talented actors get typecast. It was refreshing for Gary Oldman to break out of his “Scary Gary” image so dramatically with Prisoner of Azkaban and Batman Begins. My favorite Samuel L. Jackson performance is as the down-on-his luck Southerner in Black Snake Moan.

And now I’m gonna need Liam Neeson to start shaking it up.

Let me say off the top that I dig that Neeson is finally gaining some audience recognition for being a top-shelf actor. It’s hard for someone his age to go from regular supporting player to regular lead, but Neeson’s on a tear.

Unfortunately, a look at his imdb page indicates that it’s a might be a tear that’s going nowhere fast. Basically, you can break a good majority of his recent-years output into two categories.

One Liam Neeson role we’ve seen a lot of is the militant leader in a genre movie. I’m looking at Batman Begins, Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, The A-Team, and Battleship. It also seems to apply to an upcoming movie of his, Non-Stop, in which he plays “An air marshall [who] must spring into action aboard an international flight.”

Pic very unrelated.

The other Liam Neeson mold that Hollywood has cast is that of a badass family avenger. This applies to Taken, Taken 2, Seraphim Falls, and his potential upcoming project The All Nighter; it also applies somewhat imperfectly to The Other Man, The Next Three Days, and his other upcoming project, A Walk Among the Tombstones.

No word on if Neeson’s family is on the plane in Non-Stop, so I guess that one could technically fall into both categories.

(By the way, these are just the movies starring one guy. There’s no room or reason to turn this into a “Hollywood needs to do something new” rant, but jeez, they really do.)

Now, admittedly, there have been some movies that don’t neatly fall into the two broad Neeson stereotypes. His upcoming project The Third Person sounds like a significant change of pace, at least. The Grey — in addition to being fantastic — was a more realistic performance in a more realistic movie. By recent Liam Neeson standards, I mean.

Realism.

Furthermore, I’m not specifically singling Neeson out for this, it just happens to be his year. This is an industry-standard story — actors and actresses have a devilishly difficult time switching gears. Someone, the studios or audiences or critics, simply cannot see them through any other lens. This is frustrating, because the man’s profession is supposedly “actor.”

Right now, they’ve got Neeson in a rut. A few years ago, it would have been Harrison Ford or Morgan Freeman. A few years from now, I might have to have a sit-down with Daniel Craig or Tom Cruise.

Actually…

I remember reading an interview with Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch where he talked about how hard it was for him to find good roles that weren’t asexual, posh British men. Now, he’s fantastic at that, but I imagine that’s a frustrating box to be put in. At least based on my (extremely limited) experience with posh, asexual Brits.

Fortunately, it looks like there’s a lot of rising stars who are making their name as actors, not personalities. People like Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, or Michael Fassbender are headlining movies as different people more often than not. I just hope they don’t put handcuffs on the next breakouts, like Andrew Garfield or Chris Hemsworth.

YOU LEAVE HIM ALONE.





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4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Does Liam Neeson Need an Intervention?”

  1. sirgregoryon 27 Nov 2012 at 11:10 am

    You forgot Rob Roy

  2. Wermineon 27 Nov 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Whenever I see a fan made casting choices, I wince at the horrible type casting (or sometimes at the “this looks like him, so I choose him”).

    Lets take the obvious route: Who would’ve chosen Heath Ledger as the Joker? I remember him from Knight’s Tale and Brokeback Mountain. I’m guilty too, I wouldn’t have chosen him.

    Apparently people can’t help themselves. They want to see a familiar guy in a familiar setting. Hollywood bigwigs just give people what they want. Luckily the formula is sometimes broken and we get to see astounding performances from unexpected actors.

  3. Agent Mon 27 Nov 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Reminds me of when Michael Caine was was in EVERY movie. As Dennis Miller joked at the time, “I even saw him in my cousin’s wedding video!”

    But with Liam, has he stopped working for a minute since his wife died? I have often wondered if that doesn’t contribute his pace of work, and maybe some of his choices.

  4. monstrinhoon 30 Nov 2012 at 10:15 am

    I can never take Liam Neeson seriously after seeing him on Ricky Gervais’s show Life’s too Short. I crack up laughing every time i see his serious face.

    http://youtu.be/MKTh7zBIcrM

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