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, mostly 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.
He’s the guy producers are dying to add to their ensembles. Next up for Neeson: He’s taking on a would-be franchise character based on the global bestselling Matt Scudder crime series by Lawrence Block in writer-director Scott Frank’s thriller “A Walk Among the Tombstones.” The movie backed by producers Cross Creek Pictures (“Black Swan”) and Exclusive Media (“End of Watch”) started production in New York this week. Other producers are Double Features’ Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher (“Django Unchained”) and Jersey Films’ Danny DeVito. Universal will release “Tombstones” in North America.
The movie’s cast also includes “Downtown Abbey” star Dan Stevens, Ruth Wilson (“Anna Karenina”), Boyd Holbrook(“Milk”), David Harbour (“End of Watch”), Mark Consuelos (“American Horror Story”), and musician Astro (“X Factor”). More production details below.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”).