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TAKEN 2

LIAM NEESON (Bryan Mills) is an Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated actor whose 2008 turn as grizzled ex-CIA field agent Bryan Mills kickstarted the Taken franchise and created a new movie action hero.

The film marked a change of pace for Neeson, who followed it with explosive action roles in the likes of The A-Team, Unknown and The Grey. In the years since Taken, Neeson has been a regular fixture of blockbuster cinema, starring in Clash of the Titans and its sequel Wrath of the Titans, as Zeus; as well as The Next Three Days, Battleship and, most recently, The Dark Knight Rises, for director Christopher Nolan, in which he reprised the role of Ra's al Ghul that he originated in 2005's Batman Begins.

Neeson received Academy Award , Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations for his performance as Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar-winning Best Picture Schindler's List. Three years later, he played the title role in Neil Jordan's biopic Michael Collins, earning another Golden Globe nomination and winning an Evening Standard British Film Award and the 1996 Venice Film Festival's Volpi Cup for his impassioned portrayal of the Irish Republican hero. In 2004, Neeson starred as controversial sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in Bill Condon's Kinsey, for which Neeson garnered his third Golden Globe nomination and an Independent Spirit Award nomination, and won a Los Angeles Film Critics Award.

In 1999, director George Lucas cast Neeson in his blockbusting return to the Star Wars series in Star Wars - Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Neeson played the venerable Jedi master Qui Gon Jinn. For 2005's The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Neeson lent his voice to the gentle lion Aslan, a role he reprised for the film series' two follow-ups, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Born in Ireland, Neeson began acting in 1976 with the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast, and made his professional debut in Joseph Plunkett's The Risen People. After two years, he joined the famed repertory company of Dublin's Abbey Theatre, appearing in their production of Brian Friel's Translations. He later won a Best Actor award for his performance in Sean O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, England.

In 1980, director John Boorman spotted Neeson as Lennie in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, and cast him in the Arthurian epic feature Excalibur. During that decade, Neeson played a wide range of characters in such films as Roger Donaldson's The Bounty; Roland Joffe's The Mission; Lamb, in the title role; Andrei Konchalovsky's Duet for One; A Prayer for the Dying; Peter Yates' Suspect; The Good Mother; and High Spirits, which marked his first collaboration with director Neil Jordan.

Neeson's subsequent film work includes Sam Raimi's Darkman; Crossing the Line; Under Suspicion; Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives; John Madden's Ethan Frome, playing the title role; Michael Apted's Nell, with Jodie Foster and Natasha Richardson; Rob Roy, as the title character; Barbet Schroeder's Before and After, opposite Meryl Streep; Les Miserables; Kathryn Bigelow's K-19: The Widowmaker; Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York; Richard Curtis's ensemble hit Love, Actually; Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven; and Neil Jordan's Breakfast on Pluto.

Throughout his career, Neeson has returned to the stage. He made his Broadway debut in the 1993 revival of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, for which he garnered a Tony Award nomination. In 1998, he played Oscar Wilde in David Hare's play The Judas Kiss, which opened in London's West End and later moved to Broadway. He returned to Broadway in 2002 to play Proctor in Sir Richard Eyre's acclaimed production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, opposite Laura Linney, earning a second Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award nomination. Neeson also starred in the 2008 Lincoln Center Festival presentation of Samuel Beckett's Eh Joe, directed by Atom Egoyan and produced by Dublin's Gate Theatre.

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