Liam Neeson has been known for a particular brand of movie over the last decade or so. He’s taken his acting chops and combined them with a particular set of skills that have served him really well on screen. Basically, he’s had a late-career transformation into an action star. And it’s gone wonderfully. But now there are rumors the actor might want to try a comedic angle. Supposedly he and Seth MacFarlane have discussed a Naked Gun reboot.
In an interview with People (the TV Show)!, an offshoot production of the popular magazine, Liam Neeson said McFarlane and some others had approached him about getting together for a Naked Gun reboot. It was something of a throwaway line in the interview but was specific enough to get folks excited about the prospect of this spoof/ parody style comedy on the actor’s resume. Frankly, it’s kind of easy to see him pulling it off.
The Naked Gun movies were made famous in the late 80s/ early 90s for their hijinks and ridiculous approach to the police story. Leslie Nielsen played Detective Frank Drebin in the franchise’s three films From the Files of Police Squad! The Smell of Fear and The Final Insult. They played heavily on the tropes of 60s and 70s cop shows with both the dialogue and the over-the-top jokes. Created by the iconic trio of Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker who also did Airplane! and Top Secret!, the films saw massive financial success, earning over $500 million at the box office. Can you picture Liam Neeson taking over for the now-passed, Nielsen? I think I can.
Of course, Liam Neeson’s recent movies have taken anything but the comedic angle. Starting with the hit Taken back in 2008, Neeson has parlayed the film’s success to star in another of other “lone wolf” style productions. Those have included two more in the Taken franchise plus The Grey, Non-Stop, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Run All Night, The Commuter and Cold Pursuit. It’s been an amazing run with Neeson taking it home in nearly every role. He’s carved out something of a niche in this realm with his stoicism but also the ability to actually get down and dirty with different criminal elements.
Now, this Naked Gun reboot might come at odds with Liam Neeson’s recent suggestion that he was thinking of calling it quits with acting. While doing a promotional round for The Marksman, his next movie to hit theaters, Neeson intimated that he was getting up there in years and probably wouldn’t be doing this for much later. Sure, there’s a difference between having been approached about a film and actually signing on to do one. This probably would need to clear quite a few hurdles.
Whether there’s anything that comes from this supposed Seth MacFarlane reboot of The Naked Gun remains to be seen. This Liam Neeson reference to the movie is about the only news out there about it. But I’m here for the actor leaning into the comedy late in his career. He’s earned the right to grab some laughs after so many years of dispensing the bad guys.