What would entice Liam Neeson and director Joe Carnahan to endure the camera-and-butt-freezing conditions of a frigid shoot in British Columbia? “Well, it was the millions I was paid,” Neeson laughed, which has to be one of those jokey answers with more than a hint of truth. The Grey is an adventure story about men who survive a plane crash in a desolate snowy area, then have to figure out how not to be eaten by wolves – exactly the kind of high-voltage physical action movie Neeson has specialized in lately, following the mega-success of Taken.
He and Carnahan, who first worked together on The A Team, sat down together for our video chat to talk about the shoot, the cast – including Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo and Dallas Roberts as other wolf-bait – and why Carnahan wanted the lurking (mostly animatronic) wolves to have what he calls a mythic quality. Because, as I point out, real wolves aren’t creepy enough?!
No one is pretending that The Grey is high art, even though Neeson’s character has a backstory that includes some lines of poetry. The film meets a different standard: you don’t have to be afraid of plane crashes, wolves, or blizzards for the movie to make you jump.
And here’s a look at what they’re talking about.