For over a decade, Liam Neeson’s career as an action star has seen him log some stunt-heavy adventures, with gunplay and stern warnings aplenty beefing up his dangerous image. But in the midst of his renaissance of destruction, Neeson has also flexed another muscle that the public tends to enjoy observing: his comedic timing. So when we heard that the legendary actor was being courted by Seth MacFarlane and Paramount to potentially star in a Naked Gun reboot, it was a subject that stuck to our hearts. This is especially true, as his latest update on the project’s status has us very excited.
During the recent promotional tour for The Ice Road, I had the extreme pleasure of getting to speak with Liam Neeson, on behalf of his new Netflix action movie. Talking about the dangers of filming in ridiculously cold temperatures, with a real ice road in the mix, was certainly an enlightening experience. But knowing that Mr. Neeson may be transitioning out of his action career, and into the world of Frank Drebin and the files of Police Squad, I had to ask if there were any sort of updates on that front. Here’s what Liam Neeson had to say:
I know Seth and his team are working on a draft. I’m very excited, and I think and hope Seth might be directing it himself. No date has been set, I think, I believe it’s Paramount Pictures that approached Seth, and Seth approached me. This was about a year and a half ago, maybe two years ago. So it’ll either ruin my career, whatever’s left of it, or I’ll find another little adventure, you know?
It might surprise some people that Liam Neeson would be working with Seth MacFarlane, especially on a Naked Gun reboot. But those familiar with both men’s bodies of work would know that they’ve actually collaborated on a somewhat frequent basis, with Neeson starring in A Million Ways To Die In The West, as well as making cameo appearances in Ted 2 and an episode of The Orville. So this pairing couldn’t be more fitting for a potential revival of the classic Leslie Nielsen comedy, even if Liam Neeson’s role in The Ice Road feels like the furthest thing from that particular universe.
And though he might not be deep in preparation for this project that’s just waiting for a greenlight, Mr. Neeson has been doing a bit of light research. With a confident attitude towards The Naked Gun’s movement overall, the action star has been studying some very important materials for this potential gig. Whether or not Liam Neeson actually gets to live out the Naked Gun experience, he isn’t wasting time with this key step:
It did make me look at the Leslie Nielsen films again, which were hilarious. From Airplane! on … he was incredibly funny.
Remembering the late Leslie Nielsen, and his roles in films like Airplane!, only further highlights why Liam Neeson would be perfect for the next era of Naked Gun shenanigans. Nielsen himself was known as a primarily dramatic actor, up until he accepted the role of the deadpan Dr. Rumack in the 1980 Zucker Brothers comedy classic. After which point, both Police Squad and its cinematic continuation would help cement him as a leading comedic talent for the rest of his career.
Liam Neeson already seems primed to take that leap, even though he’s still very concerned about whether or not his career will end because of it. Working with Seth MacFarlane previously is already a good stepping stone towards that direction, and the fast paced/gag filled Naked Gun series is the next level of their partnership. Especially if Neeson can continue to deliver scenes like this clip from Ted 2, with the utmost stoicism:
As of now, The Naked Gun is still developing, and no official greenlight has been given by Paramount just yet. That won’t stop us from sharing the same enthusiasm as Liam Neeson about eventually getting the go-ahead, as it’s an opportunity to hysterical to pass up. Though that shouldn’t cause audiences to lament the retirement of Liam Neeson: Action Star, not yet anyways. With The Ice Road debuting on Netflix this weekend, there’s still plenty of thrills for Neeson fans to dig into, should they be in the mood for icy adventure.