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In order for any action movie to really work, it needs a good villain. The villain serves as a foil to the movie's protagonist, while functioning as the catalyst for everything that happens in the hero's journey. And while some villain outings are more successful than others, you can't deny the pressure and honor playing a big screen antagonist.
Liam Neeson has faced off against many villains throughout his long career, in action movies like the Taken franchise, and beloved properties like Star Wars and Batman Begins. In his upcoming movie Cold Pursuit, Neeson's character Nels Coxman faces off against psychotic gangster Viking, played by Tom Bateman (Murder on the Orient Express). I recently spoke with Bateman about his villainous character, where he revealed how it was sometimes difficult to utter Viking's lines, saying:
Some of the scenes I actually had a bit of a problem with. Some of the racist things he says were quite tough to say. But that’s the difference between you and the character. It would just be lots of me being very British after they called cut. I’m like ‘I’m so sorry, it’s not me!’
While booking the villain of a Liam Neeson movie was no doubt thrilling for Tom Bateman, that doesn't mean he enjoyed every second on set. Especially when filing scenes that required him to let out a slew of hateful language to his scene partners.
Having seen Cold Pursuit myself, I can confirm that Tom Bateman's concerns stand to reason. Viking spews plenty of vile and nasty words throughout the movie, sometimes including racist comments during his unhinged rants. While this actually helps bring some over the top levity to the project, that didn't make the 29 year-old actor's job any easier while in principal photography.
In our same conversation, Tom Bateman also spoke to the flip side of the argument, expressing how fun it was to wrap his lips around such horrifying dialogue. In addition to helping him craft a character totally separate from himself, the actor enjoyed how the over-the-top language elevated the scene. As he told it,
They’re wonderful, because to have to do to those places is quite a test. It’s quite fun, it’s bizarre. So I did have a very good time.
The dialogue for Cold Pursuit may have been a bit challenging for Tom Bateman to say, it also seems like that challenge was part of the fun for the actor. You can check out my full conversation with Bateman below.
From our interview, Tom Bateman's enthusiasm for his Cold Pursuit role is palpable. It's also clear from his performance, which cinephiles will get to enjoy in just a matter of days, as the latest Liam Neeson revenge flick hits theaters.
Cold Pursuit will arrive on February 8th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.