Mark Wahlberg has insisted that Liam Neeson is one of Hollywood’s toughest stars, and admitted that he’d love to take him on in an on-screen brawl.
The actor, who boasts a strong Irish heritage, briefly worked with the Ballymena native on Ted 2, but revealed his hopes to work with the Irish man again in another instalment of the Taken franchise, in which Liam plays badass dad Bryan Mills.
“The guy is steel, pure Irish steel. He’s like a tree, he was a boxer, no one can touch him. Everyone should look up to him because he is the king of the genre.
“And Taken redefined the genre. Taken made everyone sit up and question their game. And he has dominated since then. Plus he’s a great guy too,” he told the Irish Sun.
Pure Irish Steel: Mark Wahlberg would love to take on Liam Neeson in Taken 4 | 20TH CENTURY FOX
“He did some small work on Ted 2, but we haven’t done anything directly together yet. Maybe if he does a Taken 4, I could go up against him. I could give it a try. I might match his skills. Might.”
Mark is a frequent visitor of Ireland, and is a big fan of our golf courses – as he played a round at Portmarnock with Rory McIlroy the last time he was in town.
“I want to do them all. I’d like to go there with a month free and play the K Club, Mount Juliet. But with kids in school, work … when are you going to get the time?”
The 45-year-old grew up in the strong Irish community of Dorchester, Boston – which makes his latest movie Patriots Day a project extremely close to his heart.
The movie is a tribute to the heroism of the Boston Irish community in the aftermath of the 2013 marathon terrorist attacks, when Chechen-American brothers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev detonated two bombs at the finish line of the race, killing three people and injuring 264.
Background: Mark has strong Irish roots | VIPIRELAND.COM
“I was out of town but flew straight to Boston the day after and stood in a city I’d never witnessed before, deserted and shaken. It was hauntingly eerie.
“It’s a small town, everybody knew somebody affected by the bombings. Everybody was connected in some way. I know people affected and I wanted to be home, to help in whatever way I could. I had to go home.
And to me, this is the story of Boston Pride. And what Boston Pride means. These were ordinary people who exhibited extreme heroism by running to help those affected and injured by the bombs. They didn’t run away. That’s what heroism is to me. It’s my city and I feel very humbled and proud that they felt assured by me to tell this story.
“But also, they could personally hold me responsible. If they didn’t like what they saw, they could voice their discontent directly at me to my face. And they did. I kept getting approached repeatedly by people who’d tell us, ‘You better get this right. You better do us proud’,” he said.
In response to critics saying the movie has been released too soon after the terror attacks, Mark said, “This movie can’t have come soon enough. These atrocities and acts of hatred continue to happen again and again, we are living in deeply troubled times.”
“And I understand why many would think this was too soon, but we wanted not to just portray those horrifying acts of that day, but more importantly, the message of heroism and love and unity.”
People have also suggested that the movie’s release is timely after President Trump’s failed travel ban restricting US entry to those from seven Muslim-majority countries.
“There was no planned release date or marketing strategy, we never saw or used that as a factor. It was always about the people and their story, nothing else,” Mark responded.
Patriots Day is out in Irish cinemas now.