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Liam Neeson  ('Love Actually') Liam Neeson ('Love Actually')
'Neeson Finally Comes Of Age!'

Liam Neeson hit the shores of America, making his US television debut with a role in the 1984 CBS miniseries 'Ellis Island', and was featured that same year in the syndicated miniseries based on Barbara Taylor Bradford's bestseller 'A Woman of Substance', reprised his role as Blackie O'Neill in the 1986 sequel miniseries 'Hold That Dream'. A 1986 turn as an IRA operative on NBC's 'Miami Vice' preceded his more permanent move to Los Angeles and subsequent role in the 1987 thriller 'Suspect' as a deaf mute charged with murder, represented by Cher. In 1988, Neeson was featured in several films, some ('The Good Mother', 'Sweet as You Are') more worthwhile than others ('Satisfaction'), but even the misfire 'High Spirits' had its upside, bringing the actor together with director Neil Jordan, who tagged Neeson as the perfect choice for his dream biopic of Irish revolutionary 'Michael Collins'. In 1990 Antrim-born Liam Neeson (June 7th, 1952) really came to prominence in Sam Raimi's 1990 mini-hit 'Darkman'. His impressive resume also includes 'Schindler's List', 'Nell', 'Rob Roy', and 'Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace'. For his first romantic comedy, Liam joins the ensemble cast of the new Britsh comedy, 'Love Actually'.

Taking some time out with the tall Irishmen, and once-amateur boxer himself, I first asked him why he had chosen to make this his first-ever romantic comedy?! "I'd always loved Richard Curtis' work, such as 'Blackadder,' 'Mr. Bean,' 'Four Weddings And A Funeral,' 'Bridget Jones's Diary,' and such. And it was a chance to work with kids again. I love working with children and this young boy, Thomas Sangster, is quite a remarkable young actor. He raises your game, you know. He certainly raised mine!"

You're the father of two boys. Did that help your relationship with Thomas? "My eldest is eight and Thomas is actually about 12, although he plays a ten-year-old in the movie. But yeah, being a dad certainly helped with some of these scenes."

Explain the premise of the movie and how it all fits together "The film follows the relationships of about a dozen people. They're all discovering different facets of love, looking for it, trying to consolidate it. The film is a series of little vignettes but overall, they form into a kind of cohesive whole. It's a romantic comedy but it has a certain edge to it and some of it's sad as well as happy. It's like life."

Do you ever feel it gets a little too mushy, though?! "You know, I think Richard gets away with it. He's very, very clever. He understands the medium he writes for and if I may say it, we're all good actors in this film and we have a certain amount of deftness in keeping it from being too saccharine."

Interviewed by Mary Effronte for Exclusive Magazine

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