Liam Neeson Interview For ‘Taken 2′
In ‘Taken 2,’ Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent with a “particular set of skills” who stopped at nothing to save his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from kidnappers. When the father of one of the villains Bryan killed swears revenge, and takes Bryan and his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) hostage in Istanbul, Bryan enlists Kim to help them escape. Bryan then employs his unique tactics to get his family to safety and systematically take out the kidnappers, one by one. From acclaimed filmmaker Luc Besson (who co-scripted and produces ‘Taken 2′), co-screenwriter Robert Mark Kamen (who has penned both ‘Taken’ films with Besson), and director Olivier Megaton (Columbiana, Transporter 3), ‘Taken 2′ follows the global success of ‘Taken,’ released in 2008, which earned $224 million at the box office. ’Taken 2′ arrives in cinemas on October 4th. Look out for another interview with Liam Neeson for ‘Taken 2′ closer to the films release date.
Can you tell us a little about the premise for ‘Taken 2’? After Kim’s kidnapping in the first movie, and Lenore’s separation from her new husband, it seems there may be a chance for Bryan and Lenore to reconcile?
Liam Neeson: Sure. Bryan finds himself in Istanbul, Turkey, looking after a Sheik. He’s looking after this Sheik’s security detail for three or four days. Then after, he invites his ex-wife and daughter, who’s on an Autumn break from school, to come over to Istanbul and see the sights, have a few days of rest and relaxation….and then, nasty things happen again (Laughs). The situation Bryan finds himself in is something any of us can relate to. If your child was threatened, you’d do anything to right that wrong. And with Lenore, their connection has suddenly become very strong because Lenore has been going through a hard time. Bryan is a shoulder for her to lean on, and the relationship grows and develops from there.
Playing Bryan Mills in ‘Taken’ was somewhat of a departure for you at the time, this full-throttle action-thriller. Now with ’Taken 2,’ I can imagine you could have drew on the experience gleaned from roles in action films subsequent to ‘Taken’ that you’ve starred in?
Liam Neeson: Yeah. With Bryan Mills, I just really wanted to play what was written on the script, it appealed to the little boy in me (laughs). It was a chance to be in Paris for three months and to do fight training, and I love doing all of that physicality stuff, you know? It was terrific, it was a great release, getting to beat up bad guys (laughs). And when I acted in ’The A-Team’ I met a military weapons expert who is still operational. He was a big guy who, while we were shooting, would disappear for four days and come back with a stomach wound, and you knew he’d been on a mission in Iraq or Afghanistan. I mean, forget James Bond; this is the real deal. And he’s still doing it. He was a great source to draw on. That certainly helped for ‘Taken 2.’
How was it working with the stunt team on this particular film, ‘Taken 2’?
Liam Neeson: It’s great to do that stuff, and we had a terrific stunt team on ‘Taken 2.’ I have a wonderful stunt double, Mark Vanselow, who’s my buddy, and he’s been in my life, professionally, for 12 or 13 years. He does all the hard stuff (laughs)! Returning to Bryan Mills was a chance to get with Mark again and do all the fight training. And with Bryan, he’s a bit of a spy, a bit of a commando, there’s a lot there so it was fun to work on that.
There‘s a moment in ‘Taken 2‘ where Bryan genuinely seems sick and tired of using his “particular set of skills“….
Liam Neeson: Yeah, definitely. Bryan, at this stage of his journey, he is genuinely sick of killing. He has physically become a machine when he gets into the mindset of taking out these bad guys. I think his big worry is that the machine may take over from the human being. For the sake of his daughter, his ex-wife and his own soul, he wants to stop.
I got a good few laughs out of Bryan’s overprotectiveness towards his daughter Kim in ‘Taken 2‘? How was that to play and work opposite Maggie Grace on?
Liam Neeson: Bryan’s too overprotective, you know? He sees red with the fact that his daughter’s got a boyfriend. He’s just livid, and he does a full security check on this kid. Which is crazy – too overprotective (laughs). But that bond is there of course, they absolutely love each to death as father and daughter. And it’s so easy to have that relationship with Maggie Grace, she’s a wonderful wonderful actress. She’s very warm, she’s easy to love, you know (laughs)?
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