Liam Neeson initially thought the "particular set of skills" speech from Taken was "corny."
Liam Neeson’s long and decorated career has proven his range, but he was surprised that his role in the action/thriller film Taken led him to so much success. Sometimes being too close to a project can cause doubts in the early stages, and the Star Wars star admits to being critical of his role as Bryan Mills in the legendary blockbuster film, specifically initially disliking his iconic “particular set of skills” speech. While Neeson is known for being humble and soft-spoken off-screen, he’s no stranger to portraying gruff characters on the silver screen at this point.
In a recent Vanity Fair Article, Liam Neeson stated that he once had second thoughts about his iconic quote in the film Taken. The quote in question involves a very particular set of skills, and Neeson thought it would be received as corny, stating, “I certainly did sound scary, but I thought it was corny. It was a cornball. I really did feel that. It’s nice to be proven wrong.”
And Neeson is glad that he was wrong. The film has since stood the test of time, and transformed the then-56-year-old dramatic actor into the action star that we know today. The actor has maintained that momentum ever since. Liam Neeson’s long and decorated career hits a new milestone as he approaches his 100th film, Marlowe.
Stepping away from the beat ’em up style that was kicked off with Taken, Marlowe takes a turn to the noir crime thriller genre and is based on The Black-Eyed Blonde, a 2014 novel. Neeson portrays the titular character in this gritty mystery drama. His delivery is reminiscent of those golden era private eye films, but without being overly nostalgic.
While Liam Neeson may be trying to step away from the straight action genre that put him on the map, the 70-year-old is still testing his range. Though he’s slightly guarded with one of his current prospects, A Naked Gun reboot, he will soon be taking on a rare comedic role. Neeson states in Vanity Fair that doing comedy will either open new doors for his career or be the end of it.
While Neeson may have originally misjudged how Taken would be received by audiences, he was pleasantly surprised that his delivery in fact didn’t fall flat, but became one of his most highly quoted lines to date. Leave it to a powerhouse actor of his caliber to be a little self-critical; it comes with the territory. But the important takeaway from this is that sometimes it’s great to be wrong, and the audience always knows what they like best.
We don’t know for certain whether The Ice Road star is done with action for good, but we know that he wants to move on to the next phase in his career. As modest as Liam Neeson appears to be about his film roles and how they’re received, his millions of fans can’t be wrong about his iconic performances throughout his career. Leave it to a Jedi Master to have such a Zen-like approach to acting.