Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson In Cigar Aficionado
Liam Neeson takes the weekend box office by storm – literally, Taken 3 took The Hobbit out of the top spot, drawing in $40.4 million in domestic theaters and $41 million abroad. But Neeson takes a break from kicking some serious ass on the big screen to chat with Cigar Aficionado for their February 2015 issue, discussing everything from the evolution of his career to his upstate getaway where he enjoys fly-fishing and more. Liam Neeson is truly the thinking man’s movie star. With a filmography ranging from the critically-acclaimed drama Schindler’s List to the blockbuster trilogy Taken, he’s proven himself a box-office magnet and action hero–and he’s not done yet. At age 62, Neeson is experiencing the renaissance of his career, boasting seven different movies in theaters in 2014 and four movies up for release this year. The movie audiences love to watch him kick serious ass, but Neeson also has a softer side and longs for his stage drama roots behind the scenes. 


On his breakout role in Schindler’s List, before he was a household name: “I remember thinking that, if Steven Spielberg thinks I can carry a film, maybe I can.”

On the unexpected success of Taken (which ultimately took in more than $220 million worldwide): “I knew we’d made a good, pacey little European thriller, but I figured that was the end of it…I was totally surprised.”

On film not even being part of the plan in his early days: “I loved movies but I never saw myself being in them. I didn’t even know how you would go about it.”

On how he thinks Hollywood perceives him now: “Hollywood sees me in a different light. I’ve had several scripts come through where I could see that the heroes were meant to be in their mid-30s. But that had been scratched out, so now it said, ‘early 50s.’”

On selecting scripts, whether it’s for newcomers or the giants: “I love writers and writing. I think I’m fairly good at picking up the tone of a script, no matter the genre. But it’s always the writing first for me.”

On itching to get back on the stage: “It doesn’t even have to be Broadway. I’d love to do a play—a new play. Every so often I’m offered a revival, but I’d love to find a new voice, a new piece of writing.”

On being intimidated by Shakespeare roles: “I was always intimidated by Shakespeare. I still am, to a certain extent. It’s the language of course.”

On being reluctant to smoke cigars for a role: “I’d light a cigar for the scene and when the scene was over, I’d say to the props guy, ‘Take this away.’ And Bradley (Cooper) would say, ‘No give, it to me,’ and he’d smoke it.’”

On escaping to his property in upstate NY, where he hikes and enjoys fly-fishing: “There’s nothing like the thrill of casting into a little creek near your own place to see a fish come up to the surface—and he’s going for a fly you made out of a piece of your own hair. It’s one of the great highs in life, that you made something that could catch some creature that’s been around since the Triassic period.”

On advice that’s stuck: “You have to trust the space you’re occupying is enough”

About Cigar Aficionado 

Cigar Aficionado has been the world’s leading authority on cigars since its launch in 1992. Dubbed “The Good Life Magazine for Men”, the print publication and its accompanying website (, focus on luxury lifestyle topics such as golf, travel, alcohol and accessories. Cigar Aficionado also sponsors events such as The Big Smoke, the country’s premier event for cigar smokers. Parent company M. Shanken Communications also publishes Wine Spectator, Market Watch, Whisky Advocate, Shanken News Daily and Impact.