You don’t really need a reason why Liam Neeson‘s last few roles have been burly, badass men; it’s something we’ve simply accepted and come to welcome in action films like Taken and The Grey. But director Joe Carnahan is going to explain it anyway: There are no men in Hollywood.
Or rather, thanks to Twilight and trying to give Taylor Lautner an action career, we’re seeing kids on the silver screen who we can take seriously for their ripped abs and sexy pouts, but not for anything deeper. Carnahan explained to Collider,
I don’t think it’s crazy when you have a town now that has put so much premium on boys instead of men. And has put so many shirtless 17-year-olds in front of the camera and tried to pass off as a masculine form. I have nothing against the younger generations, but I feel when I look in their eyes, I don’t see shit, man. I don’t see a life lived, I don’t see experience, I don’t see dirt under the nails, I don’t see loss, tragedy, you name it.
He’s certainly right about loss; it was astonishing to see Neeson play Hannibal in The A-Team, having shot the movie not long after his wife Natasha Richardson‘s death in a skiing accident in 2009. After suffering such a tragedy, and with the country joining him in mourning, he put on a strong face for his kids and went back to his job. (Carnahan also directed The A-Team, so if anyone’s an expert on Neeson’s emotional state during that time, I imagine it’d be him.)
On a lighter note, here’s a fun fact that hammers home how esteemed Neeson is: He spent only a week shooting his scenes for Battleship. A week! And here we thought he was the star of the kids-game-turned-alien-invasion movie. Guess that honor goes to his much younger counterpart, Taylor Kitsch.