Blacklight: Liam Neeson plays gun-toting grandfather in ‘thrills and spills’

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If you’re a close family member of a character played by the legendary Liam Neeson – it’s probably safe to say your life may be in danger.

And it’s no different in his latest action thriller Blacklight, with the 69-year-old taking on the role of a gun-toting grandfather for the first time.

The film explores the dangers of unchecked power as Neeson’s character – Travis Block, a covert operative and freelance government “fixer” – makes enemies within the FBI and his family are at risk once again.

The Taken franchise has been big success since the first film in 2008. Pic: AP Image: The Taken franchise has seen huge success since the first film in 2008. Pic: AP

The Taken star says it’s about the government going “unchecked” with several “twists and turns” along the way.

He tells Sky News over Zoom: “There’s thrills and spills in it which I hope audiences will find entertaining.

“And there’s a lovely emotional heartbeat to it because once again my family are being threatened, which happens to be my daughter and my granddaughter – so this is the first time I’ve played a grandfather. So, I think there’s something for everyone.”

Neeson says he’s a big fan of the “political situations that the script very heavily hints at”.

“Governments, leaders going unchecked, which is very prevalent – let’s face it – nowadays with what’s happening in the world as we know,” he says.

Williams says it was 'huge' for audiences to be able to see another side to Neeson Image: Williams says it was ‘huge’ for audiences to be able to see another side to Neeson

And it’s the third time he’s linked up with director – and “pal” – Mark Williams, who also co-wrote the film.

The movie – inspired by Cointelpro, the counterintelligence FBI programme exposed in 1971 – also stars Aiden Quinn, who’s another “dear, dear old friend” of Neeson’s.

“It’s always great to work with pals because you can just go deeper with your characterisations,” Neeson adds.

Williams tells Sky News it was “huge” for audiences to be able to see another side to Neeson.

“He was playing a little bit of a different character than we’re used to – yes, he can do all of those tough guy things and he will do them, but he’s a broken man too and I think that was an important part for he and I to understand,” he says.

“This isn’t the typical Taken version of what we see out of him.”

He adds: “We want to have a conversation going on for his character – ‘am I a good guy? Am I doing the right thing?’.”

With any Neeson film, you can expect an action-packed visual treat – and Blacklight doesn’t disappoint, with the actor sounding like he’s not ready just yet to hang up his holster.

He says: “Like any of these action movies there’s a fair demand on you in that after you wrap each day’s work we always [have] fight rehearsals for an hour, hour-and-a-half – usually from day one.

“So by the time you get to your bed… you sleep for eight hours – put it that way.”

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And that begs the question – could his iconic Taken role see a revival almost a decade on?

Neeson’s response: “I was on the phone with my sister very recently and we have a lovely Down’s syndrome boy in our family and his pal – he’s a huge Taken fan.

“My sister mentioned to him a few weeks ago that I might do another Taken movie and she asked him ‘what do you think the film should be called?’ And he said – ‘Taken: The P***’.”

Blacklight is out on Sky Cinema from Friday

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