Belfast Telegraph

Liam Neeson's role as Watergate mole who sank Nixon proves he's Hollywood's busiest actor

By Claire McNeilly

The indefatigable Liam Neeson has been lined up to play the legendary Watergate 'Deep Throat' who helped bring down the US president Richard Nixon in the early 70s.

It will be the Ballymena man's 50th role in the past seven years - marking the 63-year-old down as Hollywood's most prolific actor.

Since starring in the first Taken movie in 2008, Neeson has appeared in, or played cameos in, 42 film, television and narration projects.

He's currently working on no fewer than seven new movies scheduled for release next year - and has made almost as many films in the last seven years than he did in the previous 30.

The Schindler's List actor has thrown himself into his work following the tragic death of his wife Natasha Richardson in a skiing accident six years ago.

The 45-year-old actress sustained head injuries when she fell on a beginners' slope at the Mont Tremblant resort in Quebec, Canada, in March 2009.

Following her death - which happened a year after the phenomenal success of Taken revived his then flagging career - Neeson has become one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood despite his advancing years.

His fans have, however, expressed concern that his punishing schedule is taking its toll on his health following the publication of recent pictures that show him looking gaunt and underweight on the streets of Manhattan, where he lives.

His upcoming Deep Throat project, Felt, will see the Ulster actor assume the role of Mark Felt, the FBI source for the Washington Post articles that brought down Nixon in 1974.

Director Peter Landesman's spy thriller will portray Felt, who was second-in-command at the bureau at the time of the Watergate scandal in 1972-74, as a conflicted man struggling to do the right thing.

The real-life Felt, who died in 2008 aged 95, harboured "ambivalent emotions of pride and self-reproach" about his actions for more than 30 years, according to the Vanity Fair reporter who revealed his identity in 2005.

The Watergate story was previously told on the big screen in the classic 1976 journalistic flick All the President's Men, based on the memoir by Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, who broke the scandal.

It has not been confirmed whether Bernstein and Woodward - played by Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford in the earlier movie - will appear in Landesman's thriller, due out in 2017.

Following a series of news stories that emerged after meetings between Felt and Woodward in an underground garage and other top secret locations, Nixon resigned from office in 1974.

The true story chronicles the life of an uncompromising Felt, who risked and ultimately sacrificed everything - his family, his career, his freedom - in the name of justice.

Neeson, an Oscar nominee for Schindler's List, is currently narrating the locally-produced film, A Christmas Star.

Belfast Telegraph


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