Liam Neeson has become synonymous with a gun-toting action figure that is deadly focused on his goal thanks to films such as Taken and The Grey. He has, however, had a long and diverse career that does not always result in shooting and violence. In fact, some of his biggest and best roles take place in movies where he is nothing more than a voice attached to a character or a husband and father. Listed below are some of these roles where Neeson might not even hurt a fly given the character.
He has appeared in several films in cameo form where he barely has enough screen time to stir up a fight. His appearance in Three Days Later, where he played an informative prisoner escapee to Russell Crowe’s plan, was truncated to a single bar scene where he was even working to dissuade Crowe’s character from going through with his idea. A more comical example of Neeson’s cameo ability came in an uncredited role in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. In this other single scene appearance, along with Will Smith and a few other celebrities, he played a History Channel anchor that joined the huge anchor battle near the end of the movie. At least he did not have the use a gun in the fight.
Battleship, despite the movie itself involving several CGI-fueled battle scenes, kept Neeson as Admiral Shane was outside the action for nearly the entire movie. Instead, the film was centered on other, younger stars, and seemed to suffer at the box office for this, and other decisions. This was only a slightly expanded role in the sense of screen time over the previous single-scene examples, but the director kept this storied actor in the background to help lend exposition almost exclusively. That decision did nothing to boost box office sales for this particular film.
Neeson has also lent his voice to a couple of productions that have gone on to become cult classics, inflating the popularity of his signature tone. The Lego Movie, the most recent example, has his voice plastered on the combination of Good Cop and Bad Cop, both comprising the schizophrenic civil servant of President Business. Another production to take his voice is the English version of Ponyo, one of the many animated movies from Hayao Miyazaki. Within this film about a goldfish that longs to be human, Neeson voices the fish’s father, Fujimoto, who controls the tenuous balance of land and water.
Two feature films with Neeson as a front man, Chloe and The Other Man, follow a lot of the same plot points, including a lack of violent acts by the famous actor. In The Other Man, he is determined to find Antonio Banderas’ character to put an end to an assumed affair, but falls short of his usual run-and-gun style. Chloe has a similar adultery story, but it is Neeson himself who is suspected and ridiculed by Julianne Moore with Amanda Seyfried’s character putting both through a sexual and emotional wringer.
Opinion by Myles Gann