Liam Neeson originally thought iconic ‘Taken’ phone scene was ‘corny’

Liam Neeson originally thought iconic ‘Taken’ phone scene was ‘corny’

“It’s nice to be proven wrong.”

Liam Neeson has a particular set of skills… skills that he has acquired over a very long acting career… but even he can be proven wrong sometimes. 

Over the past 15 years, the Irish actor has repeatedly stated that he never thought his 2008 action film Taken would become the fan favorite it is today. That includes his character’s now-legendary phone call speech, which Neeson originally thought was just plain cheesy. 

“I certainly did sound scary, but I thought it was corny,” Neeson recently told Vanity Fair. “It was a cornball. I really did feel that. It’s nice to be proven wrong.”

Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Europa Corp/Kobal/Shutterstock (5882826k) Liam Neeson Taken – 2008 Director: Pierre Morel Europa Corp FRANCE Scene Still

Liam Neeson in ‘Taken’

| Credit: Europa Corp/Kobal/Shutterstock

In the scene, Neeson’s character Bryan Mills ominously threatens the person who has kidnapped his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) over the phone. The monologue’s opening line, “I have a particular set of skills,” has become Mills’ catchphrase of sorts, and was even referenced in a Saturday Night Live parody in 2013. 

Back in 2020, Neeson told EW that he fully believed Taken — which went on to spawn 2012’s Taken 2 and 2014’s Taken 3 — was going to absolutely tank at the box office. 

“I thought, ‘Well, this is going to go straight-to-video. A short little European thriller, it might play okay for a couple weeks in France and then it will go straight-to-video,'” he recalled at the time. “But Fox took it and they very cleverly did a good trailer and put it during various sporting events around the country and they made it a real success. I remember the first weekend it came in at No. 3, and then it came up to No. 2 and then No. 1, and then it went down to No. 4, and it came up to No. 3 again. It just had this extraordinary cycle.” 

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And even if he thought it was a little corny at times, Neeson genuinely enjoyed shooting Taken and the doors the film opened for his career. 

“I had no idea that it would lead onto other films and other action scripts,” Neeson told EW in 2019. “They started sending me action scripts and you’d see ‘Leading man, age 37’ crossed out and ‘late 40s, early 50s’ written in instead. I feel very privileged, and a little bit guilty. I’m having fight scenes with guys half my age and I just can’t stop laughing.”

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