Neil Jordan has worked with Neeson in the past — they both hail from Ireland — and knew what the actor was capable of. Watching Neeson work was a thrill for Jordan. He said:
“I really wanted to see what Liam would do with this character, because I’ve done three or four movies with Liam in the past, and he’s been firing weapons and using his fists, which he’s very, very good at. I wanted to see what he would do with the slow contemplative burn, right? That’s why I made the movie.”
Jordan and Neeson previously worked together on the 1988 supernatural comedy “High Spirits,” the 1996 biographical drama “Michael Collins,” and the 2005 comedy “Breakfast on Pluto.” In that last film, Neeson played a character named Liam in what I assume is Jordan doing the actor a favor.
Neeson’s career runs to both action and soulful dramas. His large frame and fighter’s physique (he was once a boxer) belies a man capable of doing ample harm, while his deep eyes and deep voice reveal a great deal of vulnerability. Neeson, now 70, has played just about every kind of role, from revolutionaries to Jedi. Philip Marlowe seems like a good fit. Marlowe’s actual age throughout Chandler’s novels remains inconsistent, putting him somewhere in his mid-30s to early 40s. A Marlowe in his late 60s is a novel notion, and Neeson could easily play a mellowed-out version of the character.
Regardless, one might be excited to see two of Ireland’s most celebrated creatives working together again.