Belfast Telegraph

How Liam Neeson and Taken put Americans off travelling to Europe

By Elaine McCahill

Hollywood superstar Liam Neeson has revealed that Americans have been put off travelling to Europe thanks to the hit Taken franchise.

The third instalment is due out next month and the 62-year-old Ballymena man has told how a US school trip was cancelled because parents were worried after seeing the high-octane action movies.

"Just the other day I got a letter from a school teacher in Texas who had tried to take 60 students to Europe," he said.

"The families of 40 of them got the kids out of it because they had seen Taken 2. Then this year she wanted to take 20 of them and the parents all said, 'No, because we've seen that movie'."

Neeson stars as retired CIA operative Bryan Mills, a man who keeps having members of his family kidnapped or being kidnapped himself.

In the new movie, out on January 9, Mills is framed for the murder of his wife. Neeson admitted that he wouldn't have taken on the role in the third movie if a character had been kidnapped again, despite getting paid £12m.

"I said the second one wouldn't happen and I said I wouldn't do a third one if someone got taken," Neeson told Graham Norton on his New Year's Eve special.

"It's insulting to an audience as well as me."

The franchise has been very successful - even if it hasn't been a good advertisement for Europe - and Neeson insists he'll keep taking on action roles as long as they keep being offered to him.

"It's a luxury I'm still working at this age.

"The hero in action movies is usually mid-30s. I'll send those scripts straight back, but a week later I'll get a new one through and the main character is suddenly in his mid-50s.

"I feel good though and do my press-ups every day. All the fight scenes and punch-ups I do myself. But a stuntman does any jumps through windows," he added.

"My agent will suggest something and I'll be outraged and exclaim, 'No!' Then he'll tell me how much I get for the role. And I'll do it," he joked.

Liam Neeson rose to prominence with his starring role in Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar winner Schindler's List. He has been nominated for a number of awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor, a Bafta Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and three Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor, and also voted in top 100 best actors of all time.

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