- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: Liam Neeson attends premiere of his new fil:m "Taken" in London
- Date: 25th September 2008
- Summary: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (SEPTEMBER 24, 2008) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF LIAM NEESON WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS OUTSIDE THEATRE VARIOUS OF LIAM NEESON AT PHOTO CALL INSIDE THEATRE NEESON TALKING TO MEDIA
- Embargoed: 10th October 2008 13:00
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Reuters ID: LVA84HFKBJLLSCIKB3RPA7VUKZNI
- Story Text: Sex slavery and human trafficking provide the backdrop for Liam Neeson's latest starring role in the fast-paced action film 'Taken'.
Liam Neeson took to the red carpet on Wednesday (September 24) on London's South Bank at the National Film Theatre for the premiere of his new gritty action-thriller 'Taken.' The film revolves around former government special operative Bryan Mills, who is forced to hunt down - one by one - a ring of kidnappers who have abducted his vacationing teenage daughter and her friend in broad daylight off the streets of Paris. His personal mission of rescue and revenge take him into a seedy, hidden world where human beings are used as disposable commodities.
'Taken' is the brainchild of co-writer and producer Luc Besson, whose big screen cult classsics include 'La Femme Nikita', 'Leon', and 'The Fifth Element.' Besson has since become one of the most prolific movie producers in the industry. The film's director, Pierre Morel, had worked on several of Besson's previous productions as a cinematographer, before stepping up to the plate with his directorial debut with the free-running action flick 'District 13' followed, now, by 'Taken'.
"As an ex UNICEF Ambassador over the past ten years I was sent twice a year facts and figures of child abuse, kidnappings and stuff, and the figures for young girls and boys in Europe disappearing was, is quite staggering. It is a huge problem," Neeson told Reuters from the red carpet.
Besson came up with the idea for 'Taken' after speaking with a Parisian police officer who told him stories of kidnappers who would snatch young women and auction them off in luxury mansions as slaves.
Like the story itself, Neeson's character also has its roots in a more disturbing underworld reality Neeson's character's backstory as a government operative originated with research about real agents carrying out covert operations in Afghanistan - agents who would act outside normal official circles. From that, writers Besson and Robert Mark Kamen wanted to create a hero who was not only resourceful and self reliant but could be brutally violent, cold and ruthless when necessary. Bryan Mills was that creation.
Despite forays into action/adventure films with roles in films like 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace' and 'Batman Begins', the 56 year old Neeson might not seem the most obvious choice for a fast paced action vehicle. But the actor was up for it.
"It was an aspect to the story that appealed to the ten year old boy inside of me," Neeson said.
"I wanted to drive fast cars, shoot guns and beat up bad guys. That was essentially it."
The Irish actor is perhaps more famous for his critically acclaimed and award winning dramatic roles, including his portrayal of the titular real life figures in 'Kinsey', 'Schindler's List' (which earned him an Oscar nomination) and 'Michael Collins'. He is also slated to play Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's planned film about the 16th American President.
'Taken' opens across the UK in cinemas on September 26.
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