Actor Liam Neeson attends the New York premiere of the film "There Will Be Blood" on Dec. 10, 2007. | License Photo
NEW YORK, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson said he went through serious training to get ready for the action sequences in his new blockbuster thriller "Taken."
In the film, which was No. 1 at the U.S. box office when it opened last weekend, the 56-year-old actor plays a former spy trying to find the men who kidnapped his teenage daughter.
"The style of fighting is called Kapour; it's an amalgam of various martial arts styles," Neeson told reporters in New York recently. "I learned a very, very basic set of moves and then, after all the fights were choreographed, it was just a matter of rehearsing them and re-rehearsing them so that they became second nature to us when we shot them."
No stranger to action pictures, the star of "Michael Collins," "Rob Roy," "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace," "Batman Begins" and "Seraphim Falls," admitted "Taken" was something of a new experience for him because its director Pierre Morel expected such a high level of realism in sequences in which his actors come to blows.
"You're expected to make contact in France," Neeson said. "I don't mean 100 percent, but you're expected to make contact and I found it hard to train my body to do that."
The actor said no serious injuries were sustained on the set, largely because the people he worked with were so good at their jobs.
"It is very physical and it looks really violent, but these guys were just fantastic," he said.