NON-STOP is a movie I’d go see again. Not because I want to be anxious every time I board a plane rather I get a thrill out of kick-butt, leading men over the age of 40– Liam Neeson has become the ball buster of contemporary action films cast in such roles (Taken 1 & 2, Unknown) to audience approval and box office success.
This go round, Neeson as Bill Marks, a frustrated air marshal heavy in the vice of booze is too a grieving father. For the most part, he dials in his responsibilities on the job. Aboard a non-stop flight cross country, hence the title, situated on plane destined for a violent takeover, Marks is marked and mocked.
NON-STOP is reminiscent of the classic thriller, a Hitchcock-esque drama, eerily suspenseful and everyone is suspect. Nate Parker (GREAT DEBATERS, ARBITRAGE) and Julianne Moore (CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE) are particularly full of surprises.
Neeson and Moore discussed the turbulent tale during press interviews in New York–
How would you describe this film?
Julianne Moore: I think that obviously when you’re constructing entertainment, thrillers, horror movies or anything to give us a scare; they’re all based on what our natural worries are. Movies just take them and exaggerate them. If you’re scared of ghosts… is it the devil and so forth? I’m very scared of the devil, but in this case you take something that’s sort of routine–when you enter an airplane you’re giving up control, all of us do and this movie plays on that fear. That is what I liked so much about this particular script and the handling of it. Our director (Jaume Collett-Serra) takes rather ordinary circumstances and turns it into kind of a ‘Hitchcock-ian’ event. NON-STOP is very reminiscent of those older disaster movies I loved as a kid like, ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ and ‘Towering Inferno.’
Liam Neeson: It’s just that we all know the nightmares of airports these days; this movie plays upon our worst fears but it’s an entertainment, you know. We’ve been asked by some European journalists if NON-STOP is a September 11th film and I let them know it is not. That being said, I don’t think the film could have been made a few years ago because it would have been totally insensitive but it is a backdrop to a thriller.
What would you do if a real life situation like this one occurred?
Moore: Run and scream….
Neeson: I mean, I don’t know; thankfully I’ve never been in that situation. You’d like to think you would be heroic but who knows, you know?
Would you put up a fight?
Neeson: I don’t think so; I’m a pacifist.
Have you taken any martial arts lessons to prepare for an action role?
Neeson: I’ve done a little mongrel version of different fight stuff for years depending on what the action is in a film but in this one we didn’t want to adopt martial arts. That would have been so corny given whatever physical altercations would happen on the airplane. We wanted to make them real. I did work closely with a Special Forces guy that trains air marshals and we came up with the fight scene in the bathroom based on stuff that he was trained to do in very, very close combat situations. What you could do to disarm someone so we tried to keep that scene real and exciting.
Julianne, your character takes viewers on quite a ride and underscores how many diverse roles you’ve had over the span of your career.
Neeson: First of all, can I say that Julianne is one of our great screen actresses. We are so lucky to have her. When I first read the script and saw that her character was described as the passenger sitting next to me who may be senile, it was quite a bland part but she elevated the whole film …
Moore: Well, Liam had a lot to do with that, honestly; and Joe Silver (Producer). I was sharing with some people just the other day that my first movie was with Joel Silver so when he called me about this film and said Liam was doing it and I liked the script so much, that’s how it kind of came about.
When it comes to film roles I like to mix it up. If I’ve done something really serious I like to do a comedy; if I’ve done a comedy and I find a thriller that’s interesting, then I like to do that too; I like all genres and I like to accrue experience. I don’t really plan on things, you can’t, in our business you really can’t; we have less control than we’d like. But, yes, I do feel fortunate just to work, really.