Liam Neeson may be a one-man wrecking crew in winter action movies like 2009's "Taken" and new film "Non-Stop."
But he thinks his characters are cut from a different cloth than many cinematic superheroes.
“I don’t try and come across as a six-pack guy that’s been in the gym seven hours a day,” he told The Times at the Westwood premiere for "Non-Stop" on Monday. “I just like to come across as someone real that these things happen to and he tries to do the best he can to get out of them.”
In Jaume Collet-Serra's new film, which opens Friday, Neeson plays Bill Marks, an air marshal who must protect a packed plane after an unidentified person begins texting him threats that he will kill a new passenger every 20 minutes.
Neeson, 61, said he is unsure why he resonates with viewers as a vigilante. “You tell me,” he said. “I don’t really know – I hope audiences believe me.” (Costar Julianne Moore, who plays a passenger on the jinxed flight, said part of the reason she was drawn to a somewhat uncharacteristic action-movie role was because of Neeson, whose wife she played in Atom Egoyan's 2009 infidelity drama “Chloe.”)
Neeson, who in real life is a father to two teenage sons with late wife Natasha Richardson, said he draws on paternal instincts in these action movies, which often involve threats to a loved one.
“All the time,” he said when asked about how that informs his acting choices. “And sometimes [inspiration] from other movies too," he said, adding that he hopes to stay with the genre. “As long as my knees will let me,” he said and laughed.
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