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Liam Neeson Didn’t Think Taken Would Be a Theatrical Success

August 11, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Taken is one of the first things you think of when Liam Neeson’s name gets mentioned, but he originally thought the film would never be noticed by movie-goers. Neeson spoke with EW for a new interview and talked about the film, which is almost fifteen years old now and spawned two sequels and a television series adaptation. Neeson never thought the film would make it to American theaters, much less be the blockbuster hit that it ultimately was.

“I’ve said this before,” Neeson said, “and no offense to Robert Kamen, our wonderful writer and my pal, but I thought, ‘Well, this is going to go straight-to-video. A short little European thriller, it might play okay for a couple weeks in France and then it will go straight-to-video.’ But it did well in France and then it went straight to South Korea, and it did very well there. Fox took it and they very cleverly did a good trailer and put it during various sporting events around the country and they made it a real success. I remember the first weekend it came in at No. 3, and then it came up to No. 2 and then No. 1, and then it went down to No. 4, and it came up to No. 3 again. It just had this extraordinary cycle.”

Neeson also explained why, despite his belief it wouldn’t be a hit, he took it. “My dear departed wife [Natasha Richardson] and I were at a film festival in Shanghai, she had a film there, and [producer] Luc Besson was on the jury,” he said. “I had read this Taken script and I approached him there and said, ‘Look, I’m sure I’m nowhere near your list of actors for this, but I used to be a boxer, I love doing fight scenes, I’ve done quite a few sorcery movies with swords and s**t. Please think of me for this.’ Push came to shove and he offered it to me. And I obviously was a kid in a toy shop doing it, hanging with these stunt guys and working on these fight scenes and arms training — I loved it.”

The Taken franchise grossed a total of $929.45 million worldwide between the three films, which had a combined production budget of just $118 million. The TV adaptation, which Neeson didn’t star in, was an imagining of what Neeson’s Brian Mills was like as a younger man and ran for two seasons on NBC.

article topics :

Liam Neeson, Taken, Jeremy Thomas