Action thriller Run All Night, stars Oscar nominees Liam Neeson and Ed Harris. It was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. 


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Brooklyn mobster and prolific hit man Jimmy Conlon (Neeson), once known as The Gravedigger, has seen better days.  Longtime best friend of mob boss Shawn Maguire (Harris), Jimmy, now 55, is haunted by the sins of his past—as well as a dogged police detective (D’Onofrio) who’s been one step behind Jimmy for 30 years.  Lately, it seems Jimmy’s only solace can be found at the bottom of a whiskey glass. But when Jimmy’s estranged son, Mike (Kinnaman), becomes a target, Jimmy must make a choice between the crime family he chose and the real family he abandoned long ago.  With Mike on the run, Jimmy’s only penance for his past mistakes may be to keep his son from the same fate Jimmy is certain he’ll face himself…at the wrong end of a gun.  Now, with nowhere safe to turn, Jimmy just has one night to figure out exactly where his loyalties lie and to see if he can finally make things right. Read what Liam Neeson, Ed Harris and Director Jaume Collet-Serra had to say about the film out Friday.

 

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There is a saying “There is nothing like a mother’s love.” How does this apply to the fathers in this film?

Liam Neeson: Yeah there’s nothing like a father’s love too, sometimes you have to find it. Search for it. But it’s there. A lot of fathers just can’t find those words really, can they? I love you son or I love you my darling. They can say it to their daughters with a lot more ease I think than they can to their sons. I’m just speaking generally.

Ed Harris: Well I think there’s obviously something to it because a mother gave birth to the child, so it’s a little more intimate than a father’s relationship. Just biologically, but yeah. I have a daughter who’s 21 and I don’t think anybody could love anybody more than I love her.

 

In most action films, if you took away the gun play and car chases there would be nothing left. You take away all that in this movie and there would be you two, one killed another’s son and the other has intent to kill the other and they’re sort of having a discourse about it. It’s almost Greek.

 

Ed Harris: It does have a classic quality to it. Liam’s had such great success with the Taken films and Tombstones and I haven’t really done those kind of movies much so when I read it one of the things that attracted me was the fact that I get a chance to work with this man and actually sit down and these two guys have a relationship and they deal with something obviously and the relationship changes dramatically in the course of the film so that was exciting to me.

 

Liam Neeson: You see these relationships in Ingelsby’s script and I’ve seen the film once and I love what Ed and I do, I love that chemistry we have as characters and I think once that’s strong and audiences believe in that, then you can take your action anywhere. It’s not just tacked on for padding. It’s all connected and there’s so much at stake. I’ve killed his son and he’s coming after my son. Once you give the audience that rooted emotional heart, the world’s your oyster after that as long as you’re not too silly with it. More often than not there’s a lot of action films. Action directors, they tend to forget that. They tend to insult audiences by thinking, they’re not interested in the talking scenes, let’s get to the car chase. They’re missing on it big time.

One thing I thought was really interesting about this movie was the repeating theme about pain and what we do with pain – spread it or contain it – and how the different characters dealt with these ideas. Was this a choice for them or did their nature and instinct in the circumstances drive their choices?

 

Ed Harris: I think the latter. In the culture that they grew up in and how you deal with certain things, all kind of dictates their behavior in a way.

 

Now that the bulk of the market is tentpole and action films, should we look toward making those tentpole films smarter?

 

Ed Harris: That would be nice.

 

Liam Neeson: It would be nice. George Lucas and various other individuals … they’re like Jewels Verne, they’ve taken this camera over the past 100 years which really hasn’t changed much and this CGI stuff and computers is phenomenal what they can do you know. However, and I’m speaking very very generally, the script writers  … it seems that all the really good ones are going to television because of the tentpole there’s just no room for great dialogue you know what I mean? So they  go to the FX channel or Netflix or HBO especially at Showtime, but where writers can develop arc of characters over a long period of time.

 

And has that carrot been dangled in front of you?

Liam Neeson: Not as yet. But I certainly wouldn’t scorn it. I’ve got an apple TV now and catching up on all these shows and the level of writing is fantastic you know? You don’t see it in most pictures now – the studio pictures.

 

You’ve talked a lot about this transition you made to an action star in your 60s … is there now another level you look for like in this movie when they all have a lot of the same elements?

 

Liam Neeson: Well Brad’s script … it is very, very rich and it seemed to be throw back to films I certainly grew up with you know, 60s, 70s.

 

Like what?

Liam Neeson: There’s a whole series of Sidney Lumet that are fantastic you know.

 

Liam, you’ve worked with the director Jaume before and this is the first time you’re working with the director, Ed. Can you both speak about collaborating with him because he seems to have great vision.

 

Liam Neeson: He does, he has a vision. I trust him as [this was] our third outing together. We’re hoping to do another one in the next two years.

 

Ed Harris: It’s great coming into a situation where I knew they had worked together before and they had a comfortability with each other and … there was a familiarity between them, so it was nice to just become part of that. It wasn’t like Jaume had to get used to working with two new people. They knew each other, they had language together and I felt welcomed into that so it was a good situation.

 

Was there any hesitation joining this project being that you had your Broadway production.

 

Ed Harris:  Well prior, part of working at the deal was making sure that … I didn’t want to work on the film during rehearsal period and once the play opened I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t jeopardizing either the play or the film and so we kind of worked out the schedule so it worked out pretty well.

 

Also this is very New York tail, New York is a character in the film. Can you both speak about working in this great city?

 

Liam Neeson: It’s great. I’ve lived here for over 21 years now, it’s terrific to not just work in the city but explore the areas where we shot this especially where I’ve never been in before and wrap and come back to your own bed is a particular luxury.

 

Have you two ever worked together before?

 

Liam Neeson:  No.

 

Ed Harris:  First time.

 

I just wanted to ask how long you’ve been aware of each others’ work?

 

Ed Harris: Well I certainly remember Schindler’s List but it was probably something before that, but that was the first time I went, wow this guy is great.

 

Liam Neeson: Right Stuff. I know there was stuff before that. State of Grace I remember was particularly good.

 

Building off that, you guys have a lot of scenes in this movie but one of the biggest scenes was when you go to the restaurant to meet and have a conversation with him knowing how he would take it. Can you guys talk about filming that?

 

Liam Neeson: It was a well written scene. Jaume knew how he wanted to shoot it which was kind of us at a table and he would go around us on a track. We did maybe three takes.   Yeah very, very quick. The scene kind of took care of itself, we just didn’t stand in the way of the scene if you know what I mean. We were in a real restaurant.

 

Ed Harris:  You know, it’s the kind of thing where you know it’s an important scene in that film and so the less important you make it in a way the better it’s going to be … You don’t want to get so hyped up for it that you’re pushing something or trying to do something that doesn’t need to be done. You accept the reality of the situation and play the scene together, see what happens.

 

Being iconic actors such as yourselves, did you have any advise for young actors Common on the set?

 

Ed Harris: Listen, it’s always helpful to listen.

Liam Neeson: I was just going to say I had a fight scene with Common and it’s late at night and you’re doing these things and there were flames and stuff and it wasn’t comfortable. I would speak to Common and it was actually a note to myself was just to relax. They’re about to start something and you start stiffening up, that’s when you can get hurt you know? So I’d say, Common just relax. But it was a note to me you know?

 

You completed filming on Dean Devlin’s directorial debut?

Ed Harris:  Geostorm, yeah. And it’s not really action I play Secretary of State. The premise is that the earth, the international community has created a network of satellites inter connected around the earth that controls the weather. Prevents cataclysmic weather and tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes. And something is going wrong with it. Gerald Butler … he helped create this thing. Not a scientist but in terms of a mechanic and knowing how it all works, he’s gotta go up and see what’s going on up there. So half the film is political down on the planet. I had a good time. Jim Sturgess and I worked a lot together and we had done that Peter Weir film a way back together so we had a good time working together. Andy Garcia played a president and so we had a good time.

 

 

Speak about about working with Joel.

 

Liam Neeson: He was terrific. I met him before, I had seen a couple of Swedish films that were sent to me and then I saw some episodes of Missing, the American version He’s very, very good. I think we get on very well with each other. There’s no big discussion. Played the scenes and again Ingelsby had written terrific dialogue. He’s very good. We’ve become pals.

 

Jaume Collet-Serra

What motivated you to take that approach with the camera panning throughout the city as a transition?

 

You know it’s a visual effect. The script was great and the characters were all fleshed out, the world was fleshed out and so was New York. In the script there’s a lot of little montages,  “now it rains” and “you see these and you that,” and the first thing that you usually, as a director, when you see that on a script you’re like, “Oh that’s never going to make it.” Because the story kind of takes over and then the city gets lost in the story, that wasn’t even scheduled to be shot because you start cutting from whatever doesn’t have the story. But then as we were shooting the movie and realizing that we needed to see more of New York and get across more the point it was happening in one night and seeing all of these glimpses … You know it wasn’t the script, but it was really important. So then I started thinking of a way to do that, to compliment what we have seen before and what’s also on the movie, which is normal cuts of New York. What that would look like is like in a comic book, where you say there’s a thing at the end that says “in the meantime on the other side of the city,” right? But I wanted to connect the two places together to get a sense of geography to kind of pull away. And  so we contacted this company in France … they do a lot of this CG, city shots, and they helped us bring that to life. And it was not easy to do, to kind of arrive at a style that looked good and made sense [that’ didn’t feel too much from another movie. Trying to be at the same time classic and modern, it’s always my thing you know? Trying to tell a classic story in a modern way.

 

The funny thing is this could have been so many movies. If you just take it to the basic thing of fathers, dead sons, and the relationships that go back to childhood.

 

I bring it to where I’m comfortable and to where I think it’s entertaining. And yeah, I agree, you could take this script and tilt it more one way, or tilt it more another. I brought it to creating a world, creating a world visually that was defined as a New York that we haven’t seen before, and also in a set time period of like one night. Something that wasn’t in the script for instance. For me it’s always very important to have something happen in a very set time to give it a sense of urgency. And the balance … in movies that I’ve done before with Liam, Unknown or Non-Stop, in Unknown  he’s very confused so he cannot have a lot of scenes talking about himself because he doesn’t really know. In Non-Stop there’s a bomb on the plan, so he’s not really going to stop and talk.  So this one it was important for me to really have them sit down, take the time and balance what otherwise would be a really, just an action movie.

 

Since Taken, Liam has become an action person. Movie after movie does it become a challenge after a while to present that in a unique way?

 

No. I don’t watch other movies … I don’t watch my own movies either … I’m trying to be honest with like, okay, here is New York, let’s do it. What can New York give me, and I bring back …  like in the car chase, having the bad guy chase the cops. That was something that was really interesting and try to figure that out.

 

This is definitely a serious crime problem, but there’s comedy in it. Was there difficulty trying to keep that balance?

 

No. I mean, if it was up to me there would be a lot more comedy. Honestly, it’s the hardest thing for me to do. I am funny when I’m not directing. But … you need people to relate to the characters through comedy a lot. So, we try to really relieve tension, and relieve all that through comedy, but I’m always trying for more. It’s never enough.

 

This film has so many very tightly planned and executed set piece sequences. Can you talk about working through the New York geography?

 

Yeah. New York is not going to stop because you are making a movie. It’s just, “Oh you’re making a movie, I don’t care.” Right? So perfect example is the subway, the subway station … The city is very used to people shooting. They said, “Listen … you want to shoot here you’re going to have a terrible time, you should shoot there because it’s more quiet and I know it’s not maybe what you like, but trust me.” And they’re right because … you need places that you can manage a little bit, and nothing is going to stop for you. When we’re doing that sequence in the subway, we always had to wait for the right train to come at the right time to make sure that the camera was doing the right thing, in a very limited amount of time. Same thing when we were at Madison Square Garden, we waited for those ten minutes when everybody was coming out from a real game and we’d hide the cameras and we have Liam Neeson just waiting there like, “Okay I’m going to go inside.” And people are coming out, they’re seeing Liam Neeson coming in. And you can see, you freeze frame, you see people going like, “Is that Liam Neeson?” And that’s priceless. If you tried to fake that, then the movie becomes so much smaller … Because I don’t have 2000 extras. I have a couple hundred, and then I have to put everything in a close up … When we got that shot off 7th avenue, that the camera goes up, that was at 3:00 in the morning, there’s no traffic there, so we just put the camera there and then we waited for the traffic to build up, they were hating us, and then when it as ready, then we just moved it.

 

Can you speak a little about the casting because I think the cast is so great, and they have a great dynamic together.

 

I got my dream cast … It was so easy because when you cast Liam Neeson’s son you need somebody that has that presence physically, and is a great actor but is also able to be  generous as an actor in showing emotion and I think Joel is that. He’s a star in my eyes. He’s very committed to the role and he’s a perfect Neeson son. I could not think of anybody else. And for Ed I needed somebody with charisma and you would understand that they’re friends and at the same time have that intensity and can just turn on a dime and he’s a wonderful actor. With Ed he was difficult to work it out because he was doing a Broadway show. So I had to convince everybody that, “Yeah, it’s possible. It’s fine if we can only shoot on Monday.” So every Monday he would come to set and shoot his scene so we basically scheduled him every Monday for every week.

 

Is that why he was so angry in every scene?

 

He was very tired. He was doing a very physical show on Broadway. He was playing a dentist. I saw it, it was fantastic. But sometimes if for location, he had to come another day, I think it happened once and he would come after the show. Even after he had done the show, he’d come straight to set. So I was very lucky to work with people like that.

 

Can you speak about working with Common?

 

Commom was great, the nicest person in the world. Literally. So it’s very great to have him play a such a bad ass. He worked really hard with stunt team to kind of work out his moves and be the sort of predator type guy. It feels and is another character from another movie. In this movie there’s not enough bad ass people to take care of Liam so we’re going to bring in a character from another movie and throwing him to you. But I wish I could see a movie with just Common in that role .. Not just because he doesn’t have lines, doesn’t mean we don’t work on the back story of what his character was doing … His life is outside the world, and we had talked about, “Should we show more of him?” And  the movie takes over. You cannot cut to this other guy to introduce him properly. I wish he was introduced because of all the work [we did] with it, and I know it’s a great role.

He could have his own movie later.

 

I know, exactly.

 

But if you look at the big action stars, they’re all older gentlemen … Is there some social thing that makes it work?

 

No, I think in Westerns actors  did that until they were in their sixties. So this is just a modern version of that. I don’t think anybody, just because they’ve been a good actor, now can transition to these kinds of movies …  I think that he is a wonderful actor, he likes these kinds of movies, and he enjoys doing all the action and working very closely with choreographing the fights, and doing all of that and I think that people like it because they see that love that he brings to the movies. I think that Liam’s movies are “Liam’s movies,” but I don’t think just about anybody can do them. Just because you’ve been a good actor and generally transition just because Liam can do it…. Because I see what goes behind the scenes and I think he is very special. He has a very special set of skills.

 

 

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