“Liam Neeson Discusses ‘Honest Thief’, Reflects on ‘Darkman’ Memories, and Addresses Whether He’s Been Asked Back for ‘Star Wars'”

He also reveals which of his films he’d love to have revisited with a sequel.

From writer/director Mark Williams (co-creator of the Netflix series Ozark), the crime drama Honest Thief tells the story of Tom Carter (LiamNeeson) a man who decides to end his life of crime and turn himself in as being the In and Out Bandit responsible for robbing $9 million from small-town banks, all in the name of love. But his decision to make a fresh start with Annie (KateWalsh) quickly turns into a tale of double-cross by the FBI.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, Liam Neeson talked about how it feels to have a movie out in theaters with the current state of the world, the power of love, wanting to work with co-star Kate Walsh again, and why love scenes embarrass him now.

He also talked about which of his movies he wishes he could have revisited for a sequel, and his memories of making Darkman with director Sam Raimi.

Collider: How does it feel to have a film out in theaters right now?

honest-thief-liam-neeson-01Image via Briarcliff Entertainment

LIAM NEESON: It’s a reminder of the good old days. I only heard about this recently but they’re showing it on IMAX screens too. It’s nice. I wouldn’t say that it’s an IMAX movie, myself, but it’s hopefully gonna attract people who wanna sit in a darkened room and look at a big screen.

It’s good. I think of a cinema like coming home. You make a film and you go into a darkened room, and there’s a bunch of strangers who you share a hopefully emotional experience with. I’m quite proud of it. I’m proud that they’re gonna show it in theaters.

This is an unusual character because he’s a criminal but he wants to quit and put his life of crime behind him. And then, it’s another thing entirely to take it even further and want to turn yourself in when you were never even actually a suspect. What’s it like to get to play a guy who is a criminal but he’s motivated by love?

NEESON: I know. That’s what attracted me to it. This is a guy who’s served in the Army and who’s actually never fallen in love before. I

know that doesn’t come out in the script but that’s how I played it. I’ve been very fortunate to have been in love two or three times in my life, and it’s incredibly powerful and life-changing.

That’s what attracted me. Here’s this couple – Kate Walsh and myself – who are not in their 20s or 30s. He calls the police inspector to say he wants to hand himself in. He’s done this and he wants us to come clean through the power of love for this woman.

I know it can be such a cliche but that’s what I loved about it. I just thought, “I want to be able to make this work.” I think scenes of us thrashing around a bedroom, ripping clothes off each other, we’ve seen all of that and, quite frankly, it embarrasses me, especially at my age, seeing that stuff. We have gentle kisses in the film but that’s it.

That’s what attracted me to it. And I wanted the chance to work with Kate again. We were in a film together, called Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, about the Deep Throat FBI guy that was supplying Bob Woodward with the information about the Nixon administration.

She had a small part in that and we had a very short scene. I really liked her. We got on and I just loved her infectious humor and her vitality.

When I heard they were gonna see her for that part, I was delighted. I told them that she’s perfect for that part. And I had met Robert Patrick after the Terminator 2, so I was thrilled that he was playing a part.

And then, there was Jeffrey Donovan and Anthony Ramos, from Hamilton and A Star is Born, who’s wonderful. I was just chuffed that they got this cast together. And there are a couple of fights and a couple of car chases, and that’s always fun to do.

You’ve definitely done a lot of memorable films and had a lot of memorable performances. If you could make a sequel to any of the films that you’ve made in your career, what would you want to make and why? Is there a character that you’d like to revisit and catch up with?

honest-thief-liam-neeson-kate-walshImage via Briarcliff Entertainment

NEESON: I’m just too old but I would love to go back to Michael Collins. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the modern Irish Republic and he’s still very, very highly controversial. Many people would say that he’s the Founding Father of modern terrorism.

That is debatable. When the fight against the British was going on, to form the state of Israel, and they were fighting for their independence for the free state of Israel, they used code words about Michael Collins, out of respect for him.

Anyway, that’s a little side story. The story of Collins is that, when he goes to negotiate with the crème de la crème of the British cabinet at that time, he was a soldier and he begged not to be sent over there. Those negotiations went on for weeks and weeks and weeks.

I would have loved to have seen that process of him sitting down with Churchill. He became very, very good friends with the Minister of Defense. There were these extraordinary British politicians and, across the table, was Michael Collins and some of his associates, and his knees were shaking.

I hope you don’t mind me saying this but before the negotiations started, they were sitting running a big elliptical table. I think they still use the same table at Downing Street. Collins asked if he could use the restroom, so he was told where it was.

He was nervous, so he wanted to go and collect his thoughts. Apparently, he was washing his hands and in came Winston Churchill. He said to Collins, “Mr. Collins, you know there’s a price on your head, of five thousands pounds.”

“Yes, indeed, sir I know,” Collins said. Churchill replied, “When I was your age, there was a price of ten thousands pounds on my head.” And then, Collins replied to him, “Sir, we know you’re twice the man I am.” I love that story. But to answer your question, I wish we could do it.

I’m too old for it now but I would have loved to have done a sequel to Michael Collins about the weeks of negotiation in London with the British cabinet to try to get an Irish Republic. All he could get was a free state, which eventually lead to Collins’ death.

Have you ever been approached, at any point, by Disney or Lucasfilm to reprise your Star Wars character in anything, over the years?

honest-thief-liam-neeson-02Image via Briarcliff Entertainment

NEESON: I’ve done the voice for Qui-Gon Jinn in a couple of the animated versions of it. I can’t remember the names of them. Myself and Sam Jackson did our Jedi knights for those. I think I did two of them.

But on film, I haven’t been approached, no. I haven’t really been following them, to be honest.

I don’t know if they’ve come to an end. I heard they did a film of Harrison [Ford]’s character, Han Solo, and that there was a bit of trouble with that. What do you think? Are Star Wars fans finished with it?

Especially now with Disney+, they could do limited series for various different characters because there is still so much there. I think it’s just a matter of finding something that people are interested in.

What do you remember about making Darkman and working with Sam Raimi?

NEESON: I loved it. I remember being incredibly tired because there was make-up in the morning, especially when I was not wearing the bondages and you saw the scars and stuff.

That started off as five hours in the make-up chair and we got it down to three. I was preparing to play a bare knuckle boxer in a David Leland film (called Crossing the Line) to be shot in Scotland immediately after.

I was setting an alarm clock for three in the morning, getting up and doing an hour’s work-out by myself, and then getting picked up in the dark to sit in the make-up chair for Darkman and I just remember being really, really tired, but I did love it.

I loved Sam and I loved working with Frances McDormand. It was a cool movie. It’s become a cult-y thing now. The way cinema has progressed, CGI wise and all the rest of it over 30 years now, it’s remarkable what they can do now but in those days, some of the effects were a little bit cheesy looking but that adds to the charm of it.

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