The Naked Gun | Liam Neeson still nervous about starring in the remake

Liam Neeson in Taken
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“Hopefully my other cast members will be funny and sexy,” says Liam Neeson, expressing how nervous he is about starring in The Naked Gun remake.

You’d think that after conquering the world of action cinema, everything else would seem like a doddle, but for Liam Neeson, that isn’t the case. Following 2008’s Taken, the world became thoroughly convinced of Liam Neeson’s ‘hard man’ bona fides (despite one infamous scene in Taken 3, when his character climbs a fence needed 18 cuts over four seconds to make it look ‘convincing’).

With long-standing success in that genre now secured, could Neeson be plotting a similar career trajectory to the one Tom Cruise is said to be charting? That means making a few smart choices to gradually move away from action by working with auteur directors in a carefully-staged bid to remind the world of his dramatic chops as an actor.

The answer, of course, is no. Instead, Neeson is heading to the world of absurdist comedy in a remake of 1988’s The Naked Gun.

In a way, that’s actually braver than Cruise. Not only is The Naked Gun treasured by many, but its star – the late, great Leslie Nielsen – has also left huge shoes to fill. Neeson previously expressed a healthy dose of apprehension about this prospect, saying back in 2021 that “It’ll either finish my career or bring it in another direction. I honestly don’t know.”

It’s now 2024 and the film still hasn’t entered production, although the word is that cameras will finally start rolling later this year. Still, that’s a long time to be nervous about something, and credit to Neeson for holding his nerve throughout the last three or four years and not walking away from the project. Make no mistake, though: he’s still nervous about this career swerve.

While promoting his new film, In The Land Of Saints And Sinners, Neeson expressed his concerns to Collider, stating:

“Well, obviously, the script has got to be funny and have a kind of a theme, a kind of a story, albeit quite loose, going through the script rather than just a series of gags, which can get boring very, very quickly,” said Neeson. “Yes, I’m honoured to be offered the part of Frank Drebin, and a little bit nervous about it because I’ve done a couple of skits before that were just very short TV things, but this would be, I don’t know, 95, 100 minutes of a film.”

The veteran actor is hoping that Chip n Dale: Rescue Rangers' writers Dan Gregor and Doug Mand come through with a great script, while the same film’s director, Akiva Schaffer gets the casting for the film right too:

“They’re still casting it,” added Neeson, “so hopefully my other cast members will be funny and sexy so that I could just be dead absolutely straight. There has to be lots of visual gags going on, too. I’ll do my own thing. I remember Leslie very well. I love those films. Especially that first, Airplane! You know, ‘Don’t call me Shirley.’ Just that line alone, I think, changed Leslie’s career up until he passed away.”

The film is slated to arrive in cinemas in July 2025. Seth McFarlane is producing and, nervous or not, Liam Neeson is starring. We’ll bring you more on this one as we hear it.

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