Oscar-nominated actor Liam Neeson says he is retiring from starring in action films sometime in 2021, citing age as his primary reason for retirement.
Liam Neeson has said he is retiring from doing action movies. The Oscar-nominated actor’s career saw a resurgence after 2008’s Taken, which paved the way for Neeson to star in numerous action movies. Since then, Neeson has become known for playing variants of the rough and tough hero pursuing justice by any means necessary.
Recent examples of Neeson’s action star bravado include 2014’s Non-Stop, 2019’s Cold Pursuit, and this year’s The Marksman, which is set to hit theaters Friday, January 15th. His most recent film follows a former Marine (Neeson) turned solitary rancher who has to defend an 11-year-old boy against vicious drug cartel assassins. However, another Neeson flick has unexpectedly become a massive hit on streaming services since the start of the pandemic. His 2011 movie Unknown, in which Neeson stars as a botany professor whose identity is stolen, is now the most-watched movie on Netflix. Still, Neeson has signaled that his days as an action star may be numbered.
In an interview with ET’s Lauren Zima, Neeson said he is retiring from action films sometime in 2021. Neeson cited age as his primary reason for retirement. “I'm 68 and a half. 69 this year. There's a couple more I'm going to do this year – hopefully, COVID allowing us – there's a couple in the pipeline and, then I think that will probably be it,” the action star told ET. Neeson jokingly added a caveat to his comments, saying he might act again if he is “on a Zimmer frame or something." He says he came to this decision while filming his next movie, Blacklight. “I love beating up guys half my age," Neeson says, but he no longer has the stamina to keep up with them. He often feels “breathless” after filming a scene.
This retirement news should not come as a big shock to anyone, since Neeson previously told ET that he is done making superhero movies, saying, "I have no desire to go into the gym for three hours every day to pump myself up to squeeze into a Velcro suit with a cape." This has not stopped fans from advocating for him to reprise his role as Zeus from Clash of the Titans in Wonder Woman 3. Not to mention, Neeson has expressed interest in reprising his role as Qui-Gon Jinn in the Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi show.
Actors have gone in and out of retirement before, so there is a chance this may not be the definitive end of Neeson’s action film career. Whether or not he decides to call it quits this year, Neeson will leave behind a mammoth legacy and filmography, from his Oscar-nominated role in Spielberg's Holocaust epic Schindler’s List, his fan-favorite role of Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins, and perhaps his most memorable and most quoted role in Taken.