Liam Neeson To Retire From Action Movies

The 62-year-old Irish actor has had enough of the "guns-and-violence stuff."

By Robert Moeller Published on March 12, 2015

Liam Neeson’s mid-life professional renaissance as an action movie star is apparently drawing to an end.

It’s a day to celebrate if you’re an Albanian mobster, smug terrorist, or a wolf. Liam Neeson is contemplating retirement from the bruising action movies that have become his calling card. “Maybe two more years. If God spares me and I’m healthy and stuff,” he told reporters while promoting his new film, Run All Night. “But after that, I’ll stop [the action], I think.”

The man has had a very good run here. The first Taken film in 2008 was a runaway, surprise hit with audiences and launched (what felt like) a thousand Hollywood vehicles starring Neeson in very specific roles where he had to shoot, punch and grit his way through extraordinary circumstances. The two key ingredients in each of these films are Liam Neeson and boatloads of intense violence.

Oh, and a lot of guns.

While I genuinely respect Neeson’s undeniable and diverse talents as an actor, it must be said that the very same man who has enjoyed professional and financial blessings as a direct result of these types of “shoot ’em up” movies has also had some disappointing things to say about the ability for the rest of us to use guns.

From an interview with The Independent in September:

I am totally for gun control in the U.S. The population of America is roughly 300 million and there are 300 million guns in this country, which is terrifying . . . I’ll give Britain its dues, when they had the Dunblane massacre in Scotland, within 24 hours the gun laws were changed so you could not have a handgun.

Neeson, who became an official U.S. citizen five years ago, had this to say of the Constitution:

It is the right to bear arms which is the problem. I think if the Founding Fathers knew what was happening they would be turning in their graves with embarrassment at how that law has been interpreted.

I appreciate the fact that it may not be entirely fair to draw straight lines from a role an actor plays to their precise worldview and political philosophy. I also appreciate the fact that a big-time Hollywood player like Neeson can only have one answer to a reporter’s question about gun violence in America. But I do not think it too much to wish that someone in his position had a bit more grace and self-awareness in addressing this topic.

If you fervently believed that the removal of guns from our society was paramount to the safety and civility of the nation, wouldn’t you first do the easier thing that you have some degree of control over — namely, the production of movies and video games that glorify gun violence — before insisting that the founding document of the longest-running republic be irrevocably altered?

When it comes to making violent movies, Liam, no one has a gun to your head.

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