Some people see 70 in their headlights and slow down or maybe retire.
Not Liam Neeson, who hits that mark June 7th as it coincides with an intriguing run of non-stop filmmaking in just the past year.
That doesn’t include Friday’s “Blacklight,” a righteous revenge movie with a familial setting where his Travis Block is an “invisible” undercover FBI agent.
“Travis’s job is essentially a fixer: Go into situations where real FBI agents are undercover for weeks, months. Maybe years. Sometimes they get too deeply involved and I have to go in and extract them. Bring them back to sanity, and maybe get them reprogrammed and stuff,” Neeson explained in a Zoom interview.
“My character’s job doesn’t exist — but it does. And he’s been doing this for 20 years, working for Robinson, Aidan Quinn’s character, who rose through the ranks to become FBI director. Like J. Edgar Hoover (whom he idolizes). I’ve been working under him but I don’t exist on government papers, I don’t exist with government paychecks.”
It’s a relationship that becomes toxic as Travis begins to butt heads and question some of the “reprogramming” that leaves people dead.
“Yes, there’s thrills and spills. Fighting and a bit of shooting and stuff. But,” Neeson pointed out, “it’s also got an emotional and political edge that resonates certainly today. That was an interesting aspect to the script.”
Among the features Neeson made in the last year, “Memory” with Guy Pearce arrives in April. “Retribution,” a thriller that’s a remake of a Spanish hit, comes next. And “Marlowe” resurrects the famed ’40s private eye in his third teaming with Irish writer-director Neil Jordan.
“Yeah, it’s just one of those years. I saw these projects and knew I want to do all these.”
As a hired assassin in “Memory,” he dips into a very dark headspace. His character is “suffering from early Alzheimer’s and the research, the documentary films I watched about dementia, was traumatic. I wanted to portray that.
“There’s one scene with my brother who has advanced Alzheimer’s and he’s practically a vegetable. So the audience knows I’m going to end up like him.”
As for working with Jordan again, “We go back over 40 years. The last time we worked together was, oh my God, 16 years ago with Cillian Murphy in ‘Breakfast on Pluto.’ And ‘Michael Clayton’ ” — still the favorite among his many movies — “was 26 years ago. Where does the time go! Seriously. I can’t believe it.
“But also you reach a certain age and say, ‘Okay, make hay while the sun shines.’ ”
As for 70?
“I’ll have a quiet dinner with my two sons.”
“Blacklight” streams Feb. 11.