The Antrim man’s latest movie comes out on February 8

Liam Neeson’s latest film ‘Cold Pursuit’ is in theaters February 8, and the Irish actor is embracing his “accidental” label of action star.

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Neeson, 66 years old, sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss his latest movie, as well as his unusual career trajectory thus far.

When considering ‘Cold Pursuit,’ Neeson imagines people thinking “Oh f—, here we go again.’” It’s a part-action part-comedy film that follows a Neeson as a snowplow driver who is seeking vengeance for the murder of his son.

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The action role has become par for the course for Neeson, but it was a more dramatic role in 1993’s ‘Schindler’s List’ that made the Irishman a star in Hollywood. Now, Neeson points to 2009’s ‘Taken’ as his first foray, however unexpected, into action roles.

“Taken was an accident,” he says of the 2009 film. “I never focused on, ‘Oh, I’d love to do action movies.’ It wasn’t really on my periphery. I read [it] and just thought, ‘This would be great; just hang out with stuntmen every day and beat guys up.’ I did think it would be straight-to-video, and that was no problem.”

‘Taken,’ of course, did not go straight to video. It landed in theaters and was wildly successful, raking in $226 million, and solidifying Neeson as an action star.

“I enjoyed doing that first Taken movie so much; I had no idea that it would lead onto other films and other action scripts,” says Neeson.

“They started sending me action scripts and you’d see ‘Leading man, age 37’ crossed out and ‘late 40s, early 50s’ written in instead [laughs]. I feel very privileged, and a little bit guilty. I’m having fight scenes with guys half my age and I just can’t stop laughing. It’s just so silly on one level and great fun on another.”

Still, Neeson tries to find a balance and does not want to become strictly an action movie guy.

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“If I can intersperse them every now and then with ‘A Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ or Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence,’ you couldn’t ask for a better career than that,” says Neeson.

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Neeson takes a break again from action roles with a lead role in ‘Normal People,’ due out later this year.

“I know myself. When I have to reach for the walker to go and beat up two guys, I’ll know: ‘No, Liam, the audience is really going to laugh this time.’ ”

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