Though he achieved critical acclaim by leading films like “Schindler’s List” and “Kinsey,” Liam Neeson has always been partial to genre filmmaking. His first major starring role was in Sam Raimi’s underrated 1990 superhero film “Darkman” and he’s had appearances in films like “Krull” and — no kidding — an uncredited role in “The Delta Force.” And now the Irish actor is set to continue his more recent populist streak with roles in two films that will see him play to two different audiences.
THR is reporting that Neeson is in talks to join Seth MacFarlane’s follow-up to “Ted,” the western-comedy “A Million Ways to Die in the West.” The film, in case you forgot, stars the “Family Guy” creator as a cowardly farmer whose girlfriend (Amanda Seyfried) leaves him when he backs out of a gunfight. He soon meets up with the wife (Charlize Theron) of a notorious outlaw who teaches him how to shoot, only to run afoul of her husband. THR reports that Neeson is of course being courted to play the outlaw husband, a role which will presumably put his gravelly voice to good use. In addition to those already cast, Deadline is reporting that Giovanni Ribisi will play MacFarlane’s best friend, a cobbler.
While the MacFarlane project will play to the older crowd, Neeson also his eyes on a younger-skewing target. According to THR, Neeson will lend his pipes to a “villainous raccoon” in the animated “The Nut Job.” He’ll square off against the already-cast Katherine Heigl, Will Arnett and Brendan Fraser. The animated film is based on director Peter Lepeniotis’ 2005 short animated film “Surly Squirrel.” A late 2013 release is tentatively scheduled. Check out the short below.