To call Oscar nominee Liam Neeson's recent surge of genre material something new would be to forget that many years ago, he starred in Sam Raimi's "Darkman" as the titular hero, and also suited up for George Lucas' "Star Wars" prequel trilogy. The only thing that has changed is, aside from the no brainer success of Lucas' franchise (which is not dependent on stars, but on lightsabres), Neeson's forays into pulp fare (remember "The Haunting"?) have only been a recent thing, with "Taken" blowing the doors off. This weekend, Neeson's growl will come face-to-face with those of some very mean wolves in Joe Carnahan's "The Grey," and if things go the way the director wants, it won't be the last time he hooks up with his "The A-Team" star.
Mark Millar has been talking/developing a big screen adaptation of his comic "Nemesis" for a while, and Carnahan is the latest director to take an interest in the project after Tony Scott dropped out. The comic starts from the conceit "What if Batman was the Joker?," and follows the titular supervillain, a genius billionaire who travels the world creating havoc for his own amusement, but sets in his particular sights Washington DC cop Blake Morrow, who squares off against the twisted superhero. And that's the role Carnahan would like to see Neeson play.
Catching up with Vulture, Carnahan says, "I think he'd be a great Blake Morrow." But that's not the only project Carnahan has his eye on for Neeson. As he told us earlier this month, while he wants to make "Killing Pablo" next, he's ideally looking to follow it up with his long-gestating "White Jazz," the adaptation of James Ellroy's 1950s-set novel that tells the story of L.A.P.D. Lieutenant and occasional mob enforcer Dave Klein, who finds himself set up as the bait in a major FBI investigation into the rampant corruption of the L.A.P.D. And this time, Carnahan wants Neeson to play the crooked police captain.
"For 'White Jazz,' I would want Liam to play the Dudley Smith character. When 'L.A. Confidential' came out — and I loved James Cromwell in that film and Liam would have been a tad too young then, at that time — but Liam is absolutely 100 percent the Dud," he says. And yeah, that would be pretty badass.
And that's not the only Neeson bit of potential casting flying around. Oh yeah, Batman nerds -- spoilers within. Anyway, over the summer a rumor cropped up that Neeson was going to be making a brief appearance in "The Dark Knight Rises," reprising his role from "Batman Begins" as Ra's al Ghul. Josh Pence has already been cast as young Ra's al Ghul, so we're not sure how Neeson's appearance will work, but it will probably be some kind of flashback deal that will involve Talia al Ghul long expected to be the actual role of Marion Cotillard. Anyway, Neeson has long been denying he's got anything to with "The Dark Knight Rises," but he may have slipped up.
Speaking with ShowbizSpy (via CS Monitor) Neeson said, “I can tell you nothing about 'Dark Knight Rises,' seriously. I was on set for maybe an hour-and-a-half and the director didn’t tell me anything of what it’s about. So, I’m being very honest when I say I have no idea what’s going to happen.”
We're pretty sure he wasn't there doing craft services. Anyway, guess we'll find out soon enough when the movie opens on July 20th, but it seems Christopher Nolan is going to have a full house of players for the final chapter in the trilogy.