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Liam Neeson Is Go-To Global Star, Takes on Matt Scudder in 'A Walk Among the Tombstones'

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 13, 2013 at 2:26PM

In a world where you can't count on many movie stars--Tom Cruise? Will Smith?--and foreign sales financing dictates non-studio indie production, most of it formula genre fare aimed at a global market, Liam Neeson is king. The "Schindler's List" and "Taken" star has taken the place of aging tentpole anchors Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Tommy Lee Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Al Pacino as the older guy with authority, gravitas and menace who can handle some action and romance as well as carry a movie in multiple markets around the world. He can believably play presidents and kings, fathers, lovers and action heroes. His presence even for a short bit in a movie is worth millions and can get it made.
'A Walk Among the Tombstones'
'A Walk Among the Tombstones'

In this vigilante story, Scudder is an unlicensed private detective, ex-NYPD cop and recovering alcoholic haunted by regret. When a series of kidnappings targeting the wives of drug dealers escalates to murder, Scudder agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) and his brother (Boyd Holbrook) hunt the two men down and bring them to justice. Scudder gets help from an ex-colleague (Ruth Wilson) and a homeless 17 year-old artist, TJ (Astro.) The trick is to operate just outside the law without crossing the criminal line.

The film’s creative team includes cinematographer Mihai Malaimare ("The Master"), production designer David Brisbin ("TWilight: New Moon"), editor Jill Savitt ("Premium Rush"), costume designer Betsy Heimann ("Jerry Maguire") and sound mixer Michael Barosky ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close").

This article is related to: Liam Neeson, In The Works

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.