Reinvention: Liam Neeson, Action Hero!
A Successful Career Change for Liam Neeson.
Liam Neeson is an Irish actor (now American) with many film credits to his name.
He first became famous in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List”. Other successful movies followed but it wasn’t always like that.
After university, he took on some work as a fork lift operator and truck driver before he joined the theatre and got into films only in 1977. He played Sir Gawain in Excalibur in 1980.
Liam starred as Bryan Mills, an ex-CIA agent, in the movie “Taken” in 2008. It became a worldwide box office hit grossing some $223 million! “Taken” resulted in him being cast in even bigger budget films.
It was a big change for Liam. An Action Hero type in his 60’s!
That’s when most people are thinking of retiring (if they can afford it).
He may have liked the script and wanted a change from his normal roles. When his wife Natasha Richardson died in March 2009 in a skiing accident, he was pretty broken up.
When “Taken” became a success and plans to make a series of it, I believed that Liam used it as a way to channel his grief and sadness into his character. Focusing on Taken#2 and throwing himself into work helped fill the vacuum of his loss. The opportunity for Taken came at just the right time in Liam’s life.
Taken#2 was an even bigger success. Liam was reported to get $20mil for Taken3.
Taken is now in #4 and shows no signs of slowing down.
His recent movie, “Walk Among The Tombstones” was a continuation of this Action Hero type. In this movie, his wife was murdered and he had to protect his daughter and find her killers. This movie hasn’t done that well but still he gets big bucks for his name alone.
“Taken” is to Liam as “Rocky” was to Stallone.
Some people remembered Liam as a kind of wimp. Definitely not a Bad Ass Action Hero type!
“In some ways, it is surprising that it took so long for Neeson to crack skulls onscreen. As a physical presence, he has few equals. The burly Irish actor clocks in at six feet, four inches and always seems in danger of spilling out of the frame. With the possible exception of “Rob Roy,” however, it seemed as though Hollywood preferred him to assume the role of world-weary mentor.” Emphasis mine.
“While other, older actors are struggling against their younger images in terms of being an action star, Neeson didn’t become an action hero until he was almost 60,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak. “That sets him up perfectly to keep going.”
Are You Ready For A Big Change?
What about you? Are you hitting 50 or 60 soon? If not, there’re still valuable lessons to learn from this.
Are you ready for a change in your life?
Perhaps you’re tired of being the “Good Girl” or “Good Guy” and wouldn’t mind a tougher image! Or it’s the opposite. Why not have some fun exploring how to reinvent yourself?
People may have trouble seeing you differently and you’d like to change that.
Even Colin Firth has gone into the Action Hero type with his latest movie, “Kingsman: The Secret Service”. He’s 54. Playing the lead in romantic comedies may not come his way too often now, so perhaps Colin has taken a leaf out of Liam’s book.
Colin is smart to start early…
So when will you start? Reinventing yourself?
It normally takes at least a year or two (or more) to do this. It doesn’t happen overnight and especially not when you need it.
Finding the right opportunity at the right time helps. Sometimes the universe gives you a push but you ignore it. “I don’t need that… I’m OK.” Things can change quickly and you’re caught unprepared.
Ask yourself “What else can I do? What else do I love to do?”
- Keep an Open Mind and Be Willing. Most important!
- Ask & you shall receive!
- Check out opportunities that come your way & choose the one you like best!
- Start small (or big) depending on your urgency.
Stages of Reinvention
- Pre-reinvention: Thinking and considering this option.
- Mental Preparation: Keeping an open mind, doing research.
- Starting: Make a plan, start changing some things, set things up, etc.
- Middle: Opportunities come and you check them out. You choose one & take action to develop it further. Make adjustments, get help, test and re-start as necessary.
- Final: Signs of success, people see you differently now. Favourably.
Live Long & Prosper! Peace.