Saturday, February 19, 2011

Liam Neeson As Hollywood's Newest Badass: 'Unknown' Co-Stars Explain

Diane Kruger and January Jones say actor's 'body of work and gravitas as an actor' add a new layer to action films.
By Shawn Adler, with reporting by Kara Warner

Diane Kruger and January Jones
Photo: MTV News

He may have broken in with roles in sword-and-sorcery flicks like "Excalibur" and "Krull," but how in the world did the Oscar-nominated man best known for his quiet, dramatic work in films like "Schindler's List," "Nell" and "Kinsey" suddenly become film's most believable, in-demand 60-year-old badass?

It's precisely because of his previous work, "Unknown" co-stars Diane Kruger and January Jones insisted to MTV News.

"I wanted to be in this movie because of Liam really," Kruger said. "Especially this kind of film. ... I think because of his age and because of his body of work and his gravitas as an actor, I think it brings a whole other layer of depth to this kind of film. It feels fresh. It feels like, yes, it's entertaining and it's light, but there's a whole other layer of emotions and character work going on."

Two years after Neeson rocked audiences as a super-talented assassin out to save his daughter in "Taken," the Irish thesp is back to kick butt and take names in "Unknown," a neo-Hitchcockian thriller about a man bereft of an identity after a car accident leaves him unsure of who he really is. While unquestionably dangerous and capable, here Neeson also has to play fragile and flustered.

It's a dichotomy that doesn't just show up in his film roles, January Jones argued, but in the man himself.

"He's such a perfect casting choice for this movie, because you could be intimidated by him physically because he is fit and could cause you harm," the future Emma Frost told MTV News. "But at the same time there's something so vulnerable about him in certain things he says and certain things he does that makes you want to take care of him, there's both sides of that. You could believe that he could be a bad guy, but you could also want him to succeed."

Check out everything we've got on "Unknown."

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