Neeson returns with ‘Taken 2’

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Sept 17, 2012 - 20:15
  • Updated : Sept 17, 2012 - 20:15
Irish actor says he likes ‘Oldboy’ and ‘The Chaser’ during his visit to Korea

Actor Liam Neeson, famous for his role as the vengeful father in Luc Besson’s 2008 high-grossing film “Taken,” said the thriller has made him an “action figure” in Hollywood, during his first visit to Seoul on Monday. The Irish actor arrived in Korea on Saturday to promote the 2008 movie’s sequel, “Taken 2.”

“I seem to be have been re-envisioned as an action figure ever since the first ‘Taken’ came out,” the actor told reporters during a press conference in Seoul. “Hollywood has been sending me quite a few action scripts.”

Since the success of “Taken,” which grossed $145 million in North America and $80.5 million overseas, the 60-year-old has appeared in a number of action movies in Hollywood including “Clash of the Titans” (2010) and “Battleship” (2012). The actor said he began boxing lessons when he was nine and practiced the sport until he was 17, and these experiences have helped while shooting action flicks.
Irish actor Liam Neeson poses during a press conference in Seoul, Monday. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)

“It certainly helped doing these action scenes,” he said. “I used to go the gym, when I was an amateur boxer, four or five times a week. It became a discipline to apply myself to be fit for these films.”

In the 2008 movie, Neeson played Bryan Mills, a former CIA operative who gets his teenage daughter kidnapped by human traffickers while traveling in France. He takes a brutal revenge on the kidnapper. The upcoming sequel starts as the kidnapper’s father plans revenge against Bryan for what he had done to his son in the past. “Taken 2” is slated to be released latter this month in Korea, for the first time in the world.

“The movie starts off by saying that these people who appeared in the first film are not just objects,” the actor said. “They are human beings who have families, fathers, uncles, brothers, who are pledging revenge. And I think that’s a great way to start the film.”

Playing a father who lost his son to human traffickers was also emotionally straining for Neeson. In the sequel, his character Bryan is “fed up” and “sickened” by the things he had done, the actor said.

“It’s quite emotionally straining,” he said. “I’m a father of two boys myself. So I could imagine how one would feel when something bad happens to your child or children.”

Neeson has been serving as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since last year, and addressed the issue of human traffiking. “(As a UNICEF Ambassador), I see a lot of girls disappearing mainly from Eastern European countries,” he said. “UNICEF is certainly trying to come to the aid for these girls.”

Neeson said a few phrases in Korean during the conference, including “Annyeonghaseyo” meaning “hello,” and “happy Chuseok,” meaning “happy Korean thanksgiving.” He also expressed his particular attachment to Korean director Park Chan-wook’s 2003 noir thriller “Oldboy” and Na Hong-jin’s 2008 thriller “The Chaser.”

“Taken 2” opens in local theaters in Korea on Sept. 27.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)