Will he retire or won’t he? It may be a line concurrent with football and Tom Brady right now, but it also fits the bill for Hollywood’s leading action man, Liam Neeson. Around this time a year ago, the 69-year-old actor revealed to the world that he would be hanging up his hat on the action genre of films. Flash forward a year later, and the Irish native looks to be doubling back on his words and possibly preparing for a completely different role as he nears his seventh decade on this planet.
In a new interview with People magazine, Liam Neeson delivered the news that Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane, has asked him to star in a reboot of The Naked Gun. “I’ve been approached by Seth McFarlane and Paramount Studios to maybe resurrect the Naked Gun films. It’ll either finish my career or bring it in another direction. I honestly don’t know.” Still not backing down from his claims to retirement, at least the actors being frank about taking it one day at a time while remaining open to new opportunities.
Last year, fans were crushed when Liam Neeson revealed to ET’s Lauren Zima that he was likely leaving the action roles behind. “Oh, yeah. I think so. I’m 68 and a half. 69 this year. There’s a couple more I’m going to do this year — hopefully, COVID allowing us — there’s a couple in the pipeline and, then I think that will probably be it. Well, unless I’m on a Zimmer frame or something.”, Liam Neeson said at the time.
The Naked Gun, the famed slapstick franchise, gifted the world with three feature films in the police drama spoof genre. Based on the popular ’80’s TV series Police Squad!, the films touted the late Leslie Nielson as police investigator Lieutenant Frank Drebin. A night and day comparison with Liam Neeson, Nielsen’s catatonic delivery and the over-the-top jokes dubbed the series a delightful hit during its tenure.
With over 104 films under his belt, Liam Neeson is not known for his comedic profile. Before undergoing his action film revival in 2008 through Taken, he was rarely seen as an action star. While it’s notable that Neeson played the typecasted role in films like 1981’s Excalibur and his portrayal of the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Neeson’s early career usually found him playing more dramatic roles such as his Oscar-nominated role in Schindler’s List.
His refound success in the action genre through Taken helped Liam Neeson become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after action stars. An impressive feat for an actor already considered “aged” in Hollywood, Neeson has spent the last decade dominating the box office with other actions films such as his two sequels in the Taken franchise, along with other action flicks such as The A-Team, The Grey, Unknown, Non-Stop, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Run All Night, The Commuter, and most recently The Marksman and The Ice Road.
While comedy might not be a familiar topic for Liam Neeson, it certainly is for funnyman Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane’s comedic genius has been strewn throughout pop culture for a few decades. From his breakthrough hit with the adult sitcom Family Guy, the 48-year-old director went on to helm other comedic television series like American Dad!, The Cleveland Show, along with comedies on film such as Ted and A Million Ways to Die in the West. While the rest of the world may not be familiar with Liam Neeson’s comedic repertoire, he was hand-picked by one of today’s leading comedic men, as MacFarlane likely saw the potential to create something fresh, and unique that still pays homage to the popular slapstick police comedy. And for all we know, the role, if accepted, might land Liam Neeson another decade reigning as comedies most desired actor.