Heavy hitters Liam Neeson and Ed Harris share the screen in the enthralling thriller “Run All Night.” It is a match made in Hell considering the fact that the “Taken” star with “a special set of skills” becomes an onscreen adversary of Harris, who is no slacker himself. Harris is the scarred gangster Carl Fogarty in the superb 2005 crime drama, “A History of Violence.”
The Film Strip talked to the two recently at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York City. They were taken to task about the old adage, “There’s nothing like a mother’s love,” because this film proves without a doubt that some fathers will go to any length to protect their sons. “Yeah, there’s nothing like a father’s love too,” Neeson told me. “Sometimes you have to find it, search for it. But it’s there. A lot of fathers just can’t find those words, really, can they? ‘I love you son,’ or ‘I love you my darling.’ They can say it to their daughters with a lot more ease I think than they can to their sons. “I’m just speaking generally,” the father of two sons offered.
Harris believes the old adage has some validity because of the umbilical cord thing going on. “Well, I think there’s obviously something to it because a mother gives birth to the child, so it’s a little more intimate than a father’s relationship,” he added. “Just biologically speaking, so yeah. I have a daughter who’s 21 and I don’t think anybody could love anyone more than I love her.”
In “Run All Night,” the love of a son by one father takes a sick, illogical turn. How do you explain a revenge killing when self defense was involved?
LIAM NEESON: The thing is, there’s a weird camaraderie in that world. They establish rules for their society and you don’t break them, you know? You kill my son, I have to kill your son. You kill two of mine, I have to kill three of yours. It’s throughout history, isn’t it? It goes all the way back to King Arthur’s roundtable.
In most action films, if you took away the gun play and car chases, there would be nothing left. Did the classic appeal of the script draw you in?
ED HARRIS: It does have a classic quality to it. Liam has had such great success with the ‘Taken’ films and ‘Tombstones’ and I haven’t really done much of those kinds of movies. So when I got the script, one of the things that attracted me was the fact that I get a chance to work with this man. The two guys in the movie actually have a close relationship, but the relationship changes dramatically in the course of the film. So that was exciting to me.
LN: You see these relationships in Ingelsby’s script. I’ve seen the film once and I love what Ed and I do. I love that chemistry we have as characters, and once audiences believe in that, then you can take your action anywhere. It’s not just tacked on for padding. It’s all connected and there’s so much at stake. I’ve killed his son and he’s coming after my son. Once you give the audience that rooted, emotional [touch], the world’s your oyster. Some action directors tend to forget that. They tend to insult audiences by thinking they’re not interested in the talking scenes.
Common told me he learned some ‘special skills’ from you, Liam, but said he wasn’t going to give away any of those secrets. What do you like to tell actors who haven’t been in the games as long as yourselves?
EH: To listen, it’s always helpful to listen.
LN: I had a fight scene with Common and it was late at night. We were doing these scenes with flames and stuff and it was very uncomfortable. When I spoke to Common, it was actually a note to myself to just relax. When they are about to start something and you start stiffening up, that’s when you can get hurt.
Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org