UPDATE: Scheduling Issues May Prevent Liam Neeson From Doing Taken 2
UPDATE: It seems as though Luc Besson and Liam Neeson were able to work things out. Deadline is now reporting that they are close to signing a deal which will see Taken 2 start shooting at the end of this year or at the beginning of next, allowing Neeson to take the rest of the year off after he completes his work on Clash of the Titans 2.
One of the principal reasons that Pierre Morel's Taken was such a great success was because Liam Neeson was such a powerhouse in it. Hell, the entire first trailer hinged upon a monologue that few if any other actors could have performed with as much gravitas and force. Sadly, while a sequel is currently in the works, Neeson may not be a part of it.
Deadline has learned that producer Luc Besson is pushing to have the sequel, currently being written by himself and Robert Mark Kamen, go into production this year, but Neeson wants to take some time off. While one would think this would be seen as a major hurdle for the production, Besson has continued negotiations with director Olivier Megaton, who is in talks to helm the project, and has already lined up Mickey Rourke, Ralph Fiennes, Ray Winstone, Sean Bean and Jason Isaacs as potential replacements. Most recently, however, things have been looking good for Neeson's return, with the two discussing scheduling the film in a way that will allow Neeson to take a break.
Neeson has been incredibly busy since Taken came out in early 2008, having made 13 films in that time, and is also still dealing with the untimely death of his wife, Natasha Richardson, back in 2009. If anyone is entitled to some time off it's him, and it's pretty unfair that they are putting so much pressure on him. I hope Neeson does return for Taken 2, but I'd rather see it on his terms.
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