Liam Neeson reigns over potent cast in ‘Wrath of the Titans’
BY DENNIS KING
NEW YORK – Liam Neeson is no stranger to portraying mythical characters on screen.
The Irish-born actor with the craggy countenance, husky Celtic brogue and raspy, baritone voice is familiar to many moviegoers as the Jedi knight Qui-Gon Jinn in “Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace” and as the wizened voice of Aslan the lion in the “Chronicles of Narnia” film trilogy. Among other larger-than-life characters he’s essayed on screen – Oskar Schindler in “Schindler’s List,” the title characters in “Ethan Frome,” “Michael Collins” and “Rob Roy,” the fugitive Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” and the gritty survivor Ottway in “The Gray.”
But Neeson admits with a wry smile that few characters in his burgeoning resume can top the role of Zeus, the so-called “Father of Gods and men” from Greek mythology who ruled Mount Olympus and leads a heady ensemble cast in “Wrath of the Titans,” the macho, special-effects-laden follow-up to 2010’s “Clash of the Titans.”
Neeson, who said he learned most of his Greek mythology from watching old Western movies, leads a cast that includes fellow god-like actors Ralph Fiennes as Hades, Danny Huston as Poseidon and rugged Sam Worthington as Zeus’ son and half-god Perseus, heroic conqueror of the monstrous Kraken in “Clash.”
“Wrath of the Titans” picks up a decade after the first film, when Perseus is trying to settle into a human-scaled life as a fisherman and raise his young son in peace. But there’s trouble on Olympus as the gods’ power is weakened and the imprisoned Titans, led by the ferocious Kronos (father of Zeus, Hades and Poseidon), are threatening to overthrow the gods and unleash chaos on the world. Zeus soon appears to enlist his reluctant son Perseus to come to the aid of the struggling gods.
During press interviews at the Ritz Carlton Hotel hosted by Warner Bros., Neeson, absent the long locks and flowing beard of his character, talked about his attraction to the “Titans” films and the place of mythology in movies.
“Besides the usual action and excitement, these stories (from Greek mythology) tap in to every culture in the world,” Neeson said. “And they’re essentially the same story, which is an innocent has to go through a trial or ordeal to save the society, comes out the other end and I think learns something that advances his society onward.
“Hmm,” he mused. “I must write that down.”
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