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It's a little hard to remember now that he's entrenched on the A-list, but for most of his career he was a solid leading man, though rarely much more.
The following script is from "Liam Neeson" which aired on Feb. He's said very little about her death, until tonight. Anderson Cooper: So when you were growing up here, was it working class? [Neeson in “Taken:” I will find you, and I will kill you.] He was 56 when “Taken,” the first action thriller he starred in came out it cost just $25 million to make and earned more than $250 million at the box office. In his newest action film, “Non-Stop,” Neeson plays an air marshal fighting terrorists aboard a plane. Anderson Cooper: Do you think she had any idea about what could go wrong? Liam Neeson: When I was in the air the pilot was told, "Listen, divert your flight to Montreal because she's gonna be taken to the-- the big hospital in Montreal." I got a taxi to this hospital and uh-- this doctor, he looked all of 17, showed me her X-ray. You know, the brain's squashed up against the side of the skull.
You may remember him as Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg's movie “Schindler’s List” or in dozens of other classical dramatic roles, but today he's best known as one of the most sought after action stars in the movie business. Five years ago his wife, the actress Natasha Richardson, fell while skiing and died from a traumatic brain injury. Liam Neeson: Yeah, it's funny, they look so quaint now, these houses. And, of course, there's always a part of mind you think, "Oh, I wish I was 37 years of age again," you know? You know, so I'm milking it a little bit, you know? But I'm just like-- I'm saying, "OK, I'm comfortable with this." The first “Taken” film came out just two months before Neeson’s wife Natasha Richardson died. Liam Neeson: Ladies…] Natasha was the daughter of British actress Vanessa Redgrave, she continued her acting career while raising their two boys, Micheal and Daniel who were just 13 and 12 when she died. I've taken a tumble in the snow." That's how she described it. A second ambulance was called and Natasha was taken to the local hospital arriving more than three hours after the fall. Liam Neeson: And Joanna said, "Look, you better get up there straightaway." And then I flew up immediately.
Liam Neeson at 61 years old has become one of the highest paid movie stars in Hollywood. [Neeson in Schindler’s List: This car, what good would have bought this car….]Liam Neeson: I thought the film was quite extraordinary except for myself. Neeson says he does see himself in the action movies he’s been making the past few years though at times he seems almost embarrassed by his success as an action star. Going around, fighting these guys, I feel a wee bit embarrassed, you know? They’d worked together, on Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s classic play “Anna Christie” in 1993. Men I know don’t pull that rough stuff when I’m around. And she'd make dinners for everyone and just looked looked after us all. Anderson Cooper: I heard you can find the cloud in even in a silver lining. Anderson Cooper: And she was sort of-- she would see the silver lining. Liam Neeson: I spoke to her and she said, "Oh, darling. What Natasha didn’t know was she was experiencing what doctors call the lucid interval, a period when someone with a traumatic brain injury appears normal but blood is building in the brain causing pressure which can be fatal.
I tell him the version I saw was just over two and a half hours. "For Martin, I guess that's quite short."Silence is a passion project of Scorsese's, one he's been trying to make for more than 25 years.
It's based on a 1966 novel by Shusaku Endo about Jesuit missionaries — Neeson plays one named Ferreira — in 1640s Japan, where Christians are being systematically persecuted by the Buddhist dictatorship. Anderson Cooper: That's what was at the root of it? But he was looking for somebody who women would— Liam Neeson: Yes? Liam Neeson: I'd never had that kind of an explosive chemistry situation with an actor, or actress. Liam Neeson: Yeah, she and I were like Astaire and Rogers. In March 2009, Natasha was on a ski vacation in Quebec, Canada, with her oldest son, Micheal. Liam Neeson: This is the stage where I first performed. Liam Neeson: And I joined it because there was a gorgeous-- there's always a gorgeous girl. How else am I to polish the inside of a 45 millimeter shell casing? You tell me.] Anderson Cooper: He said that he-- he wasn't looking for a movie star. It's-- I don't know if you can hear me, but that's-- this is what's gone down. All your family and friends will come." And that was more or less it. Anderson Cooper: But at that point you didn't think that there was any hope? If any of us got into a vegetative state that we'd pull the plug. So when I saw her and saw all these tubes and stuff, that was my immediate thought. She's gone." But donated three of her organs, so she's keeping three people alive at the moment. The film has been through multiple writers and actors, but Scorsese stuck with it, and it's finally hitting theaters this month.Neeson understands the value of playing the long game.If you live in UK send a properly stamped and self addressed envelope (minimum size 8.5" x 4") with your request letter and a photo.