As Liam Neeson lines up yet another movie role, Showbiz Correspondent Maureen Coleman reports that the star is facing a dizzying schedule
Since Liam Neeson launched his movie career over three decades ago the Ballymena man has been one of Hollywood’s most prolific and hard-working actors.
There’s barely been a break in his schedule from the moment he signed up to appear in the 1978 movie Pilgrim’s Progress.
The roles followed thick and fast — Excalibur; Suspect; Rob Roy; Nell; Michael Collins; Schlinder’s List; Gangs Of New York, Kinsey, Kingdom Of Heaven, and Seraphim Falls. More recently he starred in the high-grossing thriller Taken and the BBC drama Five Minutes Of Heaven, which was shot back home in Northern Ireland. But even by Neeson’s standards the next few months will be hectic.
The father-of-two has agreed to star in a number of new projects including What’s Wrong With Virginia?, The A-Team, Lincoln, The Red Circle and Fools Rush In.
In addition he will lend his voice to the third movie in the Chronicles Of Narnia series of films.
And if that’s not enough, it’s just been revealed that following the huge success of Taken, Neeson will star in another thriller, Unknown White Male.
There are also rumours that a Taken sequel is in the pipeline, prompting speculation that Neeson will, once again, be called upon.
Of course some might say that Neeson is merely doing what he does best — working hard to provide for his family.
But following the tragic death of his actress wife Natasha Richardson earlier this year it’s also possible that the 57-year-old is immersing himself in his work to distract himself from the pain of his loss.
Neeson was filming the movie Chloe in Canada when Richardson suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident in Quebec.
She later died in hospital, leaving behind a heartbroken husband, two young sons Daniel and Michael, and a wider family circle.
Following her funeral Neeson called up the film’s director Atom Egoyan and told him he was coming back on set.
Atom was quoted as saying that the reason Neeson decided to return to work was because he had a huge support network behind him to help look after the two boys.
Since Chloe wrapped Neeson has gone on to rack up more roles.
The first he signed up for following his wife’s death was a remake of the Clash Of The Titans, also starring his close friend Ralph Fiennes. It’s been reported that Fiennes has been a huge support for Neeson in the last five months.
In his latest role announcement, Unknown White Male, Neeson will play a doctor visiting Berlin who is the victim of a horrific car accident. When he awakens from a coma, another man has taken his place.
Principal photography is due to take place in Berlin in January 2010.
In a recent interview actor Aidan Quinn, who is godfather to Daniel, said that Neeson was holding his young family together by keeping things as normal as possible.
“He keeps their life very, very normal,” he said.
“They’ve got school, they’ve got homework, they’ve got friends to hang out with.”